MARBLEHEAD — The No. 6 Reading girls lacrosse team raced out to a 5-0 lead early in their playoff game, then had to weather a furious comeback by home team Marblehead, outlasting the No. 2 Magicians 9-7, Tuesday afternoon at Piper Field in the Division 1 North semifinal.
Both teams entered Tuesday’s game with identical 16-4 records. It was the Rockets who cranked it up early, scoring five times before eight minutes were gone in the first half.
Junior Hannah Gohr scored the first of her five goals just 32 seconds into the game, and she scored the fourth and fifth Rocket goals to put the guests up by five. Alex Palermo and Chloe Doherty also scored for Reading in that early outburst.
Marblehead coach Annie Madden called a timeout after the fifth Rocket goal, telling her girls not to worry about anything but what they have to do, and the Magicians responded with five goals in a row to tie the game with 6:42 left in the first half.
The Magicians comeback was started when Lydia Bongiorno scored twice, her first with 12:45 left in the half broke the ice for Marblehead, and she sank another one 70 seconds later to make it 5-2. Grace Arthur, Grace Doody and Niamh Healy scored to tie it up, but the Rockets went into the break with a 6-5 advantage thanks to Gohr’s fourth score of the first half.
Madden reiterated what she told her team during the first half timeout during the break, and Marblehead scored the first two goals of the second half to go up 7-6, with only 90 seconds gone in the second. Niamh Healy’s second goal made it 5-4, and Bongiorno completed her hat-trick just 14 seconds later to give the home team the lead.
Reading regrouped after Marblehead took the lead and tied it up with five minutes gone in the second half, Chloe Doherty picking up her second off a pass from Kayle Loughman. Nine minutes later Gohr scored to put the Rockets up 8-7, and Alex Palermo put Reading up by a couple with 5:39 left in regulation, and they pretty much controlled the clock with Marblehead trying to regain possession and generate some offense.
Marblehead had some chances late in the game, Grace Arthur bounced a shot of the post, and Bongiorno’s bid for her fourth goal with 3:03 remaining, was denied by Reading’s goalie Madison Bruzzesse.
Madden said it was very frustrating to fight back only to have Reading regain control of the game.
“We played with heart from the beginning of the game until the end, everyone played to win, we just came up two goals short,” Madden said.
Reading’s coach Rachel Costa said it was a team win for all 25 girls on the squad.
“We felt well prepared for this game, they executed the game plan well, and held off a very good Marblehead team,” Costa said.
Newburyport 19, Swampscott 3