Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Break Up Dinner Coming

Tomorrow night the Lady Raiders and friends celebrate another successful season of Melrose volleyball at Anthony's of Malden.

The Lady Raiders had another terrific season, with 22 wins overall, their fifth consecutive appearance in the Division II North finals, and a return to the top spot in both the Middlesex and the North Shore Leagues.

Coach Scott Celli captured the North Shore League Coach of the Year Award, and Melrose v-ballers took home some other hardware, too. Sophomore Hannah Brickley was named to the 'Best Six' of the League, while seniors Gina Ciccone and Nicole Glavin both achieved All-Star status.

The volleyball banquet traditionally includes good company with a post-season reunion of players, families, and coaches, a terrific buffet dinner, a recap of the season, letter and awards presentations, video highlights, and the naming of next season's captains.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Globe North Article on Lady Raiders

The Boston Globe North featured an article on the Lady Raiders today.

Additional Photos

Additional photographs are available for purchase from

Andover Action Photos

This is not a solicitation or recommendation, but they apparently offer photo packages and posters.

Melrose-Central Photoessay

Click photos to ENLARGE. Photographs courtesy of Don Norris.

Melrose traveled to Andover's Dunn Gymnasium for the fifth consecutive season. After being knocked out for the past three seasons by Melrose, Central had more answers. Melrose is proud of the Lady Raiders accomplishments, with their five year overall regular season record of 106-13, including 22-1 this season. Melrose, like Central, returns four sophomore starters for 2008.

Leslie Hirschfeld (33) and Colleen Hanscom go up to block Audrey Warren, while Gina Ciccone looks on.
Laura Irwin goes for the block against Lauren Berg
Libero Lauren Howe (6) bumps to the front while Jess Farr watches
Laura slams against the 6'2" Katie Zenevitch and Lindsay Phenix

Leslie slams around the block
As always, the Melrose faithful turned out en mass to support the locals.
While Leslie hits you can see the surrounding Melrose defense ready to respond to a possible block with (left to right) Hannah Brickley, Laura, Lauren, Gina, and Colleen in position. Sophomores Hannah, Lauren, and Colleen will battle Central for the next two seasons.
Hannah goes up to slam into Zenevitch and Phenix
Hannah and Colleen go up for the double block
Laura splits the block this time.
Laura puts the spike through Katie Z on this attempt while her teammates stand ready for the block
Hannah's timing and 'ups' allowed her to lead Melrose in blocks this season, as well as making the 'Best Six' team from the thirteen team North Shore League
___________________________________________________________________Another block attempt, with Hannah and Gina using the 0.2 second 'window' to get into blocking position. Reasonable hand position with fingers spread and net penetration.
____________________________________________________________________The Lady Raiders take the D2 North consolation trophy for the second time in the past fifth season.
Senior Captains Lauren Howe, Gina Ciccone, and Leslie Hirschfeld accept the runnerup trophy.

Congratulations on a terrific career.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Central Catholic Ends Melrose Run, 3-1

Melrose gave a noble effort staving off elimination in game 3, but lost the D2 North title game to Central.

Melrose qualified for the D2 North final for the fifth consecutive year, squaring off with Central Catholic from the powerful Merrimack Valley League. Melrose came in 22-0, mostly facing North Shore League competition, while Central had battled MVC heavyweights like Andover, Lawrence, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Haverhill.

A large contingent of Melrose students, fans, families, and parents traveled to Andover for the annual showdown at Andover's Dunn Gym. Central came out fast with their terrific sophomore setter Carolyn Eddy and 6'2" Katie Zenevitch pounding Melrose with outside kills, while Melrose couldn't get in offensive sync. Melrose's slams repeatedly went long or wide, and Central took game one 25-10.

Things didn't get much better in game two, with Central again dominating with Katie Z, senior captain Audrey Warren, Maggie Hillman, and Lauren Berg slamming from all directions. Central looked like the team of destiny, winning 25-18.

Game three was tight fairly early after Melrose got the lead. Around midway through the stanza a run triggered by double blocks by Hannah Brickley and Laura Irwin or Leslie Hirschfeld and Gina Ciccone gave Melrose a 17-10 lead. Melrose gained confidence and went up 24-12 before Central went on a closing run to bring the game to 24-19 before a service error by Central sent the teams to intermission.

Game four was a donnybrook, with numerous lead changes and ties. Melrose got solid play from Hannah, Nicole Glavin, and setter Colleen Hanscom in particular. Melrose took a time out trailing 23-21, got a pair of points, and Central called time. Central followed with a brilliant lob from traffic over the Melrose defense and an Eddy push that tickled the tape and fell to the court to seal the victory.

Lady Raider Notes: Melrose showed great heart with their comeback and should take pride in their fifth consecutive appearance at Andover. Central presented a great challenge with superior height, excellent athleticism matching the Lady Raiders and more offensive 'guns' than the Lady Raiders could muster.

Although I'm sure the Lady Raiders are disappointed at coming up a little short, the Runnerup Trophy should give them ample motivation to prepare for next season's challenges. The fans gave departing seniors Hirschfeld, Ciccone, Lauren Howe, and Glavin a great appreciation ovation.

Melrose returns a healthy 'core' of starters including setter Hanscom, middle Brickley, outside Irwin, and defenders Jess Farr and Kelly O'Neill. Plenty of opportunities exist for positions in both the front and back row, and Melrose will seek to develop the kind of powerful offense needed to advance deep into the playoffs. Central also brings back the core of their team and I expect Melrose and Central to be back at each other the next several seasons.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Elite Eight: Showdown at Dunn Gym Tomorrow

In Division II, we're down to the Elite Eight teams that have a chance to compete for a State Title, with Melrose and Central Catholic meeting tomorrow to advance to the Final Four. The winner meets the South sectional winner next week, the loser simply goes home. Melrose advances to the D2 North final for the fifth consecutive season, having ousted Central Catholic at some point each of the past three seasons, including a memorable quarterfinal game in 2005, when Central, seeded eighth, was clearly the second best team in the section.
Sophomore Hannah Brickley had no sophomore jinx this season or against Bedford. The Melrose Middle Hitter achieved an unusual feat this season, All-League status in the North Shore League, and led the Lady Raiders to a victory over Bedford with 17 kills and 6 blocks.
_____________________________________________________________Like Hannah, sophomore Outside Hitter Laura Irwin delivers the package on both the volleyball court and the basketball court for the Lady Raiders. Both teams benefit from the regular and post-season competition that so often has brought Melrose to title games. From left to right, Jess Farr, Gina Ciccone, Hannah, and Colleen Hanscom look on.
____________________________________________________________________Coach Scott Celli is the one constant face of Melrose volleyball. This season he garnered his 200th high school volleyball coaching win.
___________________________________________________________________Lauren Howe (6) and Kelly O'Neill are two of Melrose's defenders who played a big role in Thursday's win.
____________________________________________________________________"Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment." Nicole Glavin has enjoyed a breakout season thanks to athletic gifts, hard work, and good decision-making on the court this season.
___________________________________________________________________Sophomore setter Colleen Hanscom is yet another Lady Raider standout on the hardwood in both the fall and the winter. Colleen not only sets, but helps out with blocking, defending, and even spiking this season. A number of other Melrose volleyball athletes will make big contributions this winter as well, including but not necessarily limited to Siena Mamayek, Annmarie Wiesen, and Athena Ziavras.
______________________________________________________________Senior Leslie Hirschfeld squeeze a hit past the Bedford blocker. Leslie has stepped her game up in the post-season. The end-zone seats came out yesterday, revealing some of the Volleyball Championship banners in the background.
Lady Raider Notes: Melrose faces Central Catholic tomorrow at 4 PM at Andover's Dunn Gymnasium. Melrose looks for another big win in Andover. Melrose has achieved a few breakthrough victories in Andover, the 2003 Division 2 North sectional title game against undefeated Arlington Catholic and the 2005 defeat over the Division 1 State finalist Andover Warriors are a couple.

Keys to tomorrow's game:
  • Offensive aggressiveness at the net against the taller Central Catholic
  • Consistency from the serve-receive game
  • High percentage of first service
  • Defensive challenge to every ball
The Lady Raiders deserve your support as they look to capture their fourth D2 North title. Dig it!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Going to the 'Ship

Melrose defeated a surprising Bedford team 3-1, to move on to the Division II North finals for the fifth consecutive season.

Bedford captured game one 32-30 with a superb effort, as Melrose showed some rust following their lopsided victory Monday against Charlestown. The game was tied at 5, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 before Bedford sealed the win. Four service errors by Melrose hurt and Bedford outplayed the Lady Raiders at the net in the game. Unofficially, Hannah Brickley had six kills in game one.

Melrose and Bedford were tied at 7 in game two, when Melrose went on an 8-3 run to open the lead. A service run by Leslie Hirschfeld stretched the lead, and Melrose finally prevailed 25-14. Melrose had only six kills in game two, living off of Bedford errors. Nicole Glavin had several crafty kills, but Melrose had another three service errors.

Game three really started to show Bedford the exits. Melrose had fifteen kills, only one service error, and dominated with leads of 8-2, 14-4, and 20-9 before winning 25-12. The locals had a key point at 5-2, with a pair of Brickley blocks, followed by a quick rejump into the kill for Hannah. Brickley had another five kills and three blocks and Laura Irwin added another three kills.

Game four marked Melrose's return to the finals, as the Lady Raiders again resumed domination with a 25-13 rout, leading 5-1, 9-2, 15-7, and 19-8 en route to the victory. Hannah, Colleen Hanscom, and Laura each had a pair of kills. Lauren Howe was the Unsung Hero in tonight's match with very 'clean' play from the libero position.

Score by Games

Melrose 30 25 25 25

Bedford 32 14 12 13

Lady Raider Notes: The Lady Raiders first captured the D2 North title in 2003 at Andover with a stunning upset over undefeated Arlington Catholic, and proceeded to top Dracut in 2004, and North Andover in 2005 for a threepeat. Last year the young Lady Raiders lost to state runnerup AC.

Senior Gina Ciccone will play in her 11th volleyball post-season game for Melrose Saturday. Paula Sen holds the Melrose volleyball post-season games record with 15.

Coach Scott Celli runs his post-season record for the past five seasons to an impressive 14-4, a .778 winning percentage.

The Division II North Championship game is scheduled for Andover High School at 4:00 PM, versus Central Catholic which defeated AC today, 3-0.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Inaugural (Volley)Ball at Middle School Gym

Melrose showed off its new gymnasium last night at the Division II North volleyball quarterfinal match. And as usual, Don Norris provides some photographs of the festivities.

Freshman Athena Ziavras sports some new threads for the Lady Raiders.
_____________________________________________________________Coach Scott Celli carries a record of 63-6 over the past three seasons and 105-11 over the past five seasons, including a 13-4 post-season record.
A confident Melrose team gets some late instructions.
___________________________________________________________________Some Lady Raider fans and JV players chose to go with face paint.
___________________________________________________________________Libero Lauren Howe gets some High Fives during player introductions.
___________________________________________________________________Nicole Glavin delivers a kill from the outside.
___________________________________________________________________Not many anxious moments last night for Melrose fans and parents.
__________________________________________________________________Just part of the student section of the big home crowd at the first official event in the new gym.
___________________________________________________________________Another section of the Melrose faithful.
___________________________________________________________________Siena Mamayek goes for the block.
_____________________________________________________________With a commanding lead, many of the Melrose regulars got to enjoy the victory from the sidelines.
More later as time permits.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Melrose Wins, But No Losers Here

FIRST: Correction...Melrose will feature the Division II North Semifinals THURSDAY at 7 P.M. in the new Middle School Gymnasium.

Tonight, Melrose hosted Charlestown in a quarterfinal match, and dispatched Charlestown handily in straight games. The contest was never in doubt with Melrose approaching double digits in aces alone in each game, against the smaller less experienced Townies, who defeated Burke 3-0 in a preliminary round.

Melrose won the first two games 25-6 and 25-3, and the third game, played entirely by sophomore reserves with the exception of Colleen Hanscom and freshman Athenia Viavras, Melrose won 25-16.

Tonight's contest served mostly as a tuneup for the subsequent rounds, and Melrose's large crowd showed polite applause for both squads.

What Melrose fans should know, is that according to the Charlestown coach, her girls all have perfect academic averages. So there were no losers on the floor tonight.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tournament Time

The Melrose Lady Raiders host Charlestown tomorrow night in the Division II North quarterfinals of the MIAA state volleyball tournament.

The undefeated Lady Raiders (20-0), winners of the Middlesex and North Shore League will inaugurate the new Middle School gymnasium, a 900 seat hardwood maple surface.

Melrose is led by Coaches Scott Celli and Steve Wall, who have directed the locals to the D2 North finals the past four seasons. Senior leadership with captains Leslie Hirschfeld, Gina Ciccone, Lauren Howe, and outside hitter Nicole Glavin complements the youth movement with sophomores Hannah Brickley, Laura Irwin, Colleen Hanscom, and Jess Farr.

The winner advances to the Semifinals Wednesday and Wednesday's victor travels to Andover Saturday (if the usual scheduling pertains).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Senior Night Redux

The Lady Raiders don't hide under the Bright Lights.

A season to remember, 20-0 headed into the postseason...with more to go.
Photos courtesy of Terry Bleiler of Prestige Portraits.
Click photos to ENLARGE.