Saturday, June 3, 2017

Reading Rolls Past North Andover in D1 North Matchup

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

READING, Mass. – In the Division 1 boys’ lacrosse state tournament, it pays to be playing your best at the right time.

Reading excelled at all three levels while hosting No. 5 North Andover in a second-round matchup D1 North on Saturday, as the Rockets opened a 9-2 lead early in the their quarter and held on for a 13-9 victory.

It all started with Rockets goalie C.J. Hart (16 saves), who made seven first-quarter stops to frustrate the Scarlet Knights (13-6). 

“My defense gave me the shots that I could see and put me in good position to make the saves,” said Hart. “When teams shoot them and they’re not going in, they kind of shut it down early and that’s what we want.”

On the other end of the field, senior Kevin Tobin (goal, six assists) was masterful in facilitating for his teammates while his younger brother Mike (four goals, assist) netted a hat trick before halftime, pacing the Rockets (16-3) to an 8-2 lead at the break.

With Hart and the defense creating transition opportunities and the Rockets offense clicking, there is reason for moderate optimism heading into a test against the top team in the state. 

“We’ve been gelling pretty well in practice as far as defense to offense,” said Hart. “We came together late in the year, but it’s perfect timing heading into the tournament.”

Juniors Jack Geiger and Dan Cranitch each added hat tricks for the Rockets, while senior attack Steven Canale led North Andover with five goals, as the Scarlet Knights made a late comeback bid against the Rockets’ reserves. 

Now Reading advances to face top-seeded and two-time defending stat champion Lincoln-Sudbury (16-1) in a rematch of last year’s D1 North Final, as the Warriors rolled past eight-seeded Billerica, 19-6, on Saturday. The two teams will meet at L-S on Wednesday, June 7 at a time to be determined. 

“I think we’re a little more confident in ourselves,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said about a rematch with the Warriors. “One of the hardest things is teaching kids that they can win in school sports. We’re feeling comfortable that we’re not going to get run over. If we can hang in there, and I think we can, then I think we’re going to do some damage.”

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