Home for the Holidays -- Santa arrives, the MHS girls are honored

... first ever women's state title -- first MHS title in 40 years

from the SilverStringers

Melrose got hit with a double whammy back on November 30, both parts of which are good news for the 27,000 residents of this small but faire city.

First, the Melrose High girls' volleyball team went through the regular season totally undefeated, then went on to humble three of the state's finest teams to win the Massachusetts Division 2 championship*. The honor is the first state title that any athletic team -- men or women -- has earned in the past 40 years. Second, Santa shared his "sleigh" with the team.

Coach Scott Celli (also a teacher at MHS) and his team took on Longmeadow, winner of the Massachusetts' western division, in late November, and strode away with a 3-1 triumph. Just one year ago the then-current team lost that title match, and now, as a team mostly of seniors, accomplished the near-impossible.

Two of the group earned all-star State honors: center-hitter Sarah McGowan and setter Brooke Bell now represent MHS on the honorary state team. No less than six of the club were earlier named to the Middlesex League all-star team.
In the meantime, the Christmas season arrived, marked in Melrose by Santa Claus arriving downtown on the Fire department's hook-and-ladder. This year that privilege was shared (thanks to Mayor Rob Dolan) by the volleyball team -- some 15 of Melrose's finest athletes were honored to share that brief ride and greet some one thousand (estimated) people downtown. The celebration took place on Friday evening, November 30.

The official roster, at the beginning of the season, listed these varsity players: Cassidy Barbaro, Amanda Commito, Maeve Moriarty, Rachel Johnson, Jennifer Cain, Brooke Bell, Sarah McGowan, Kayla Wyland, Jill MacInnis, Alyssa Abbott, Allie Nolan, Stephanie Crovo, Annalisa DiBari and Sydney Doherty. Several JV players were added as the season progressed.

The annual procession -- that is, the arrival of Santa on the fire truck, is produced by the Chamber of Commerce. All stores along Main Street -- and many in the other smaller business centers in town, remained open that Friday night, dressed in Christmas finery. It was an attractive scene, one that is quite popular with the Melrose citizenry.

The point of the festivities, the chamber points out, is to shop at home. There are over a hundred businesses serving patrons in Melrose.

**Note: A single loss came at the hands of Newton North, a non-league team that plays in Division 1 (much larger schools) competition.

The girls get a hand from firefighters as they leave the hook and ladder, downtown.

The crowd presses to see Santa and the champion girls' volleyball team.

December 7, 2012

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