READING, Mass. -– Reading boys’ lacrosse head coach Charlie Hardy nearly fainted, but then he could’ve floated above the ground as his Rockets held on to escape with an 8-7 win over Middlesex League rival Lexington on Friday.
No. 12 Reading sweated out a tense final minute with the Minutemen holding possession in their end to hand No. 18 Lexington its third one-goal loss in four games.
“They’re a heck of a program and beat some pretty good teams this year,” Hardy said. “This is exactly what I thought would happen. I think we grew up a lot today. We have a lot of young kids still. We’ve had some kids that were hurt and haven’t played and this was a good test for them, but we need to smooth ourselves out.
“We should gain some confidence from this though. We’ve played some good teams, but no team as good as this one.”
Reading (8-1) took a 6-4 lead into halftime and the Minutemen (7-3) showed they were not going to go away in the second half, twice pulling themselves within a goal.
However, Lexington was never able to find the equalizer as Rockets goaltender Matt Comerford (11 saves) and the Reading defense led by Larry Gilligan stood their ground.
Conor Henrie tallied his second goal of the game for Lexington with 7:21 remaining to pull the Minutemen within one once again.
“Our defense did a good job overall, keeping them to seven goals,” Hardy said. “You should win games like that. I thought Matt Comerford, our goaltender, was great as well.”
Nick Guenard led the offensive attack for Reading, notching a hat trick and two assists. Ross Anderson, Brian Bourque, Greg Connery, Matt Dente and Connor Sheehan all added goals. Dente finished with a three-point game while adding two assists.
However, perhaps the Reading offense’s great contribution came in killing off the clock during the waning moments of the victory.
The Rockets possessed the ball with poise, picked up loose balls and did whatever it took to ensure the win.
“We work on that a lot in practice,” Guenard said. “We just try to keep the ball moving. If someone gets doubled, we try to get open. Everyone’s moving, everyone’s running, we’re trying the best we can to move the ball.”