Friday, October 31, 2008

Looking Around

A quote from the Girls Volleyball section on MassLive forums:

"Correct the only team that can beat North Quincy is Barnstable! Except of course for: Canton, Bourne, Melrose, Central Catholic, Medfield, Brockton, Frontier, Bishop Feehan, the Quincy YWCA all-stars, the ladies on The View, or six girls named 'Carol'."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seedings, Brackets...On to the Show

Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Seedings...perfect..except they screwed the pooch on the records...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Senior Laden Feehan Tops Melrose 3-0

Melrose traveled to Bishop Feehan and suffered their second loss of the season to the highly-ranked hosts, 25-16, 25-23, and 25-21. Melrose finishes the regular season 20-2, and Middlesex League champion.

"Everybody clap your hands."

Feehan jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and Melrose could only get within four at 10-6. Four service errors didn't help the Lady Raiders. Melrose had nine kills in set one, three each by Athena Ziavras and Siena Mamayek, and a pair by Hannah Brickley. Siena also added a pair of blocks.

Melrose got the jump in set two, with 401 and 6-3 leads. The game was tied at nine when Feehan went on a run to 13-9, but Melrose closed to trail by one at 17-16 and 23-22 and 24-23. Hannah came up big with seven kills in the set, and Athena added another pair along with Colleen Hanscom.

Feehan again came out strong in the third set, as having won the Eastern Athletic Conference for the sixth consecutive season, they prepare for the post-season. They led 9-3 and 18-11. Melrose began a furious comeback with a five point run from 21-14 to close to 21-19. Unfortunately, a costly service error gave Feehan the three point lead that they extended to 23-19. Melrose battled back with kills from Laura Irwin and Athena, but Feehan hung on to seal the victory.

Melrose had twelve set three kills, including six from Laura and three from Hannah.

Tournament Notes: The MIAA postseason tournament meeting occurs Thursday, with Melrose likely to begin play next week. Melrose is likely to have a three seed in Division II North as they begin their quest for a sixth consecutive D2 North final berth.

Melrose hosts Division III powerhouse North Reading Friday at 3:30 for a scrimmage. North Reading is a favorite to go deep into the D3 playoffs along with Frontier.

Projected Top Teams in Division 2:
  1. Medfield (split with Barnstable)
  2. Central Catholic (undefeated in MVC, returning D2N champion)
  3. Bishop Feehan (beat Melrose today)
  4. Bourne (beat North Quincy yesterday)
  5. Melrose

The Photoartistry of Melrose Volleyball

Click photos to ENLARGE. Pictures courtesy of Don Norris.

Girls who participate in sports derive numerous benefits.
  • Improved academic performance
  • Reduced disciplinary problems
  • Health benefits including improved bone density and reduced cancer risk
  • Lower incidence of substance abuse
  • Lower rates of teen pregnancy
That's not why we're big advocates of womens' sports, just more good reasons to do so. Fun is serious business...
Athena Ziavras goes up to spike into the double block.
Hannah Brickley winds up for the big hit through Don's wide-angle lens.
__________________________________________________________Siena Mamayek has enjoyed a terrific season with steady improvement.
_________________________________________________________We usually talk in terms of "dig, set, slam." North Andover looks at it more graphically.

High school athletes make memories for themselves, their families, and their community. Every team has its own personality and characters, blended with a melange of freedom and creativity by their coaches. Just as the African proverb says, "it takes a village to raise a child, but one child can destroy the village," so do coaches create the framework for athletic community. Even the best teams will not always agree with all the decisions, but respect the reasons behind them, just as the coaches respect the sacrifice and effort from the players.

Knights Slain, Feehan Today

The Lady Raiders (20-1) traveled to North Andover on their toughest road swing of the year, and came away with a hard-fought 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15 victory. North Andover has given Melrose trouble in years past, including a four set struggle in 2005 on Senior Night.

Melrose ends their regular season today, traveling to Bishop Feehan to take on another top 5 ranked team.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


There seems to be some confusion about tomorrow's match against North Andover.
We are playing at North Andover at 4:00.

This information comes directly from Coach Celli. NORTH ANDOVER Monday at 4 PM

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lady Raider Photos from Terry Bleiler

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Part of the tremendous community support the ladies receive is terrific photography. Terry Bleiler contributes some shots from a recent match.
Jess Farr (libero, in red) and Alex Harlow.
Siena Mamayek serves.
Hannah Brickley puts one down, with Athena Ziavras and Colleen Hanscom at the ready.
Jess and Kelly O'Neill chasing down a deep ball.
Jess completes the dive here.
Laura "Spike" Irwin with the smash.
Allie Walsh (injured), Alex, Jill Slabacheski, Alyssa DiRaffaele, and Athena look on.
The Melrose brain trust...Steve Wall and Scott Celli.
Siena and Laura near the net.
Annemarie Wiesen and Alex on a substitution.
Athena soars to a slam.
Laura, Hannah, and Alex
Timeouts allow players to get additional suggestions.
Siena and Colleen at the net
Jess and Siena

Kelly and Alex
Colleen serving
Melrose looking relaxed during a break
Coach Scott Celli with some individual instruction for freshman Alyssa DiRaffaele.
Alyssa and Laura share a laugh. Siena and Athena look on.
Jill gets into defensive position
Colleen backsets to Annemarie
Jill and Kelly on defense prepare for serve-receive
The 2008 Lady Raiders volleyball team stands at 19-1 with two regular season matches remaining.
Tri-Captains Hannah, Kelly, and Colleen with Coach Celli.

Melrose-Barnstable Wrap

Melrose faced the champ Thursday, and the champ won. But it wasn't as easy as that.

Set one saw a seesaw battle early with the game tied at 5 to 5. Hannah Brickley had a pair of blocks early and a kill. The teams continued to trade points early to 8-8 before a Barnstable 12-1 run extended the lead to 20-9 and the other Red Raiders coasted. Melrose had five kills in the game, two each by Hannah and Athena Ziavras and struggled to cope with the speed of the game.

Set two saw somewhat similar action with Barnstable ahead 5-4 in a nip and tuck battle, before a 10-3 run by the home team expanded the lead to 15-7. Athena, Hannah, and Laura Irwin each had a pair of kills. Melrose got the game back to 18-12, but there was too much Stephanie Bristol and Barnstable closed out the set 25-15.

Set three saw the best Melrose volleyball of the season, with fourteen Melrose kills, and ferocious action at the net by Hannah and Siena Mamayek. Melrose held the lead for much of the set, up 4-1, 7-4, 11-6, 14-9, and 15-12. But Barnstable continued to parlay Bristol kills and continuing attacks into comebacks, and finally knotted the score at 19. Melrose counterpunched with leads at 22-20 and 23-21, but the hosts dropped the final four points on Melrose to claim victory.

Hannah had eight kills in the final set, Siena and setter Colleen Hanscom each had a pair, and the Melrose defense did themselves proud. Barnstable just had too much size, talent, and experience , which is why they've been the champs.

Melrose Volleyball History Update

The last seven years of Melrose volleyball have produced consistent success, to the point that along with Lady Raiders basketball, volleyball shares the athletic spotlight locally. Dedicated and talented players, top coaching, and fantastic community support have blended to produce five Middlesex League titles in six years and five consecutive appearances in the (sectional) Division II North championship, including a three-peat title run from 2003 to 2005.

Despite coming from the second SMALLEST city in Massachusetts, the volleyball program has emerged to be among the top programs in the state.

Coach Celli has built the team on a three step platform, attracting high caliber athletes, developing volleyball skills both in and out of season, and making volleyball important to the community.

This week's outstanding effort in the loss against Barnstable, which in recent years had previously won over 100 consecutive matches, marks another landmark in the development of the program.

Several contests have proven landmarks in the Scott Celli era. Melrose first emerged in late 2002 winning six of seven down the stretch, and extended it into the playoffs with a remarkable five set comeback in overtime against Dracut to win a playoff game.

In 2003, Melrose faced a superb Haverhill team and lost, but gained valuable experience that allowed them to capture their first Division II North title over Arlington Catholic and their 'twin towers' at Andover. AC had not lost a set during the season, yet Melrose captured a straight set win.

The rivalry with Reading reached a fever pitch in 2004, with Melrose tieing for the league title, but overwhelming the Rockets in their old high school bandbox gymnasium in the playoffs en route to their second D2 North title.

2005 brought a couple of notable games, a five set Saturday afternoon win against Division I powerhouse Andover on the road, an Andover team that would lose to Barnstable in the state championship game. Melrose took another step up in 2005 losing a five set comeback in the state title game against Medfield.

Thursday's contest at Barnstable launches another important milestone for the program. The expansion of the Middlesex League has reduced the opportunities for non-league superior competition, which is critical for team development. Only by competing against the top area and out-of-area competition can the team maximize its potential.

In addition to team success, the Lady Raiders once again have enjoyed great individual success. The North Shore and Middlesex League (ML) have named their post-season awards. Hannah Brickley becomes the third North Shore League (NSL) Player of the Year from Melrose, following in the footsteps of Marianne Foley (2003) and Paula Sen (2005).

  • Hannah Brickley, middle hitter, "Best Six", NSL and ML all-star/Player of the Year
  • Jess Farr, libero, NSL and ML all-star
  • Colleen Hanscom, setter, NSL and ML all-star
  • Laura Irwin, outside hitter, ML all-star
  • Scott Celli, North Shore League Coach of the Year
Congratulations to all the young ladies and Coach Celli for their achievement and recognition.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Keep Holding On...Melrose-Barnstable Photoessay

Click pictures to ENLARGE. Photos courtesy of Don Norris.

"The race is not always to the swiftest or the battle to the strongest, but it pays to bet that way."

Melrose went into the lions den, facing Barnstable on their turf, and proudly battled the best team in the state. Losing the 40 game regular season winning streak to Barnstable means an opportunity to get the experience needed to battle through Division II North and move deeper into the playoffs. The Barnstable Red Raiders were led by the best player in the state, (23) Stephanie Bristol.
The Melrose Lady Raiders 2008 volleyball team.
Melrose's own All-State player, Hannah Brickley, battles Barnstable's Bristol.
Siena Mamayek had a break out game for Melrose.

Athena Ziavras slams into Bristol.
Hannah had numerous blocks against the taller Bristol
Siena and Colleen Hanscom go for the block.
Athena goes for the spike, with Bristol a formidable obstacle.
Barnstable volleyball is an institution, but some estimated the fans from Melrose filled half the stands.
Tri-Captain Kelly O'Neill gets some suggestions from Coach Scott Celli, who was enormously proud of his team's effort.
Siena goes up for the smash.
Got hops? Laura Irwin goes high for the kill.
Melrose hasn't experienced a lot of rainy days but learned valuable lessons playing against the best. You cannot become the best without playing better competition, which is what Melrose strives to do with schedule enhancement.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Melrose Competitive, but Falls to Barnstable 3-0

Melrose faced top-ranked Barnstable on the road, but played hard and solidly despite a three-set 25-11, 25-15, 25-23 defeat.

Barnstable is perennially the Division I State Champion, and Melrose gained invaluable experience facing the Cape's powerhouse. More details as they come in.

Melrose-Masco Volleyball Photos

Click photos to ENLARGE.

As I type, Melrose faces perennial state champion Barnstable in Hyannis, and courtesy of Don Norris, we have some photographs of the recent 3-0 match against Masco. Masco did themselves proud with some solid defense and net play, but Melrose used superior passing in their best serve-receive game I have seen to overcome."Nothing great is accomplished without enthusiasm." Where do we start a successful program? Community. "It takes a village to raise a child." A big crowd turned out for Senior Night, to recognize the hard work and dedication that produce excellence, year after year.

Melrose presented a flower and balloon to each Masco senior and several teammates briefly share their thoughts on the contributions of the honoree. Here Hannah Brickley (L), Laura Irwin, and Colleen Hanscom do the honors.
Senior Tri-Captain Kelly O'Neill has steadily improved her game not only this season but throughout the past four. Here she is recognized along with parents Buddy and Barbara O'Neill.
Kelly helps anchor the defense, so critical as most offense in volleyball begins with defense.
Kelly surely had the largest numbers of signs in Melrose volleyball history.
Athena Ziavras goes for the tip while Colleen looks on.
Here Athena is in striking position
Kelly does the bump while Jess Farr (L) and Laura look on.
Melrose and Masco give post-game tribute to each other.
Not every moment in volleyball goes cheerfully. Here Jess (22), Colleen (14), and Jill Slabachesky don't look happy about how the ball bounced.
Annemarie Wiesen (I do occasionally spell it right...I think) has quietly had a terrific season, blocking, serving, setting, and playing opposite.