Collegiate ambitions keep lacrosse star going

BY GABE MARTIN

Melcher clears the ball to lead the offense in a game against Pacific Grove. photo by CARLOS ZARATE

CHS lacrosse midfielder Luke Melcher led the Padre lacrosse team with 52 goals, 18 assist and 58 ground balls, helping them finish their season 8-8.

 

Melcher moved to the area his sophomore year of high school from Massachusetts and was first seen participating in the Carmel High football program where he made a large impact, but his main focus has been on improving his lacrosse skills and doing so by becoming a dynamic force for Padre lacrosse.

 

Lacrosse is known as the “fastest sport on two legs” by many of its constituents, and to Melcher that’s just one reason he’s enjoyed the sport for so many years.

 

“Both of my older cousins played lacrosse in high school,” Melcher reminisces. “When I was in third grade I went to one of their games and was fascinated. A lot of people call it the fastest game on two feet, and it’s true because you’re always moving and everything that happens in the game happens extremely fast.”

 

Head coach Mark Abrahams hopes to help Melcher increase his knowledge and skill of the sport through each play, and in the process aid in the improvement of his top offensive player.

 

“[Since he joined] Luke has led the team by performing at a high level,” Abraham says. “When he has the ball he draws defenders, which allows him to move the ball to his teammates and that gives them scoring opportunities.”

 

This season Padre lacrosse scored 144 goals against adversaries. Thirty-six percent of the team’s goals were scored by Melcher, and 18 more were subsequently assisted by him.

 

Fellow captain Joe Johnsson has been involved with Padre lacrosse for four years and notices not only Melcher’s effect on the offensive side of the ball, but also on the defensive side of the game, earning his team possession more than 50 times with his ability to pick up ground balls.

 

“His skill alone is extremely significant,” Johnsson says. “I have a running joke with Luke that he’s a terrible defender, but that probably couldn’t be further from the truth because he has more ground balls than anyone on the team, and he’s probably one of the most athletic people on the team. If I had to pick anyone on the team for a defender it wouldn’t be Luke, but if you’re looking for a two-way middie, he’s probably one of the better middies Carmel lacrosse has seen in a long time.”

 

Though the season is over, Melcher is determined to work at his skill on the field in preparation for the next year—most likely while participating in travel team ADVNC Lacrosse—and in preparation for a chance at playing the sport he loves at a higher level in college.

 

“My dream college to play lacrosse at would probably be Duke,” Melcher says. “There is a guy named Justin Guterding who plays at Duke. I like to watch how he plays, and I try to model some of the things he does well.”

 

With many game-changing seniors, such as Kenshi Husted, Christian Arnold and Logan Vandenbroucke—who together scored 42 goals, made 22 assists and changed possession with ground balls 69 times—graduating and leaving a hole in the Padres’ offense, juniors such as Ben Bouhaja on the midfield with Melcher and Mason Abraham on the defensive side of the field are looking to even the odds going into the 2019 season.