WEST NEWBURY — Pentucket will be facing a familiar foe in today’s tournament opener as the Sachems take on North Reading this afternoon at 5.
“We always know that whenever we play North Reading, they’re going to be a good team. They’re physical and they’re well coached,” said Pentucket coach Dan Leary. “We’re looking forward to it. Our goal all along has been to play our best lacrosse come May, so we’re hoping that will be the case.”
Pentucket (12-5) and North Reading (13-7) have already played each other this season, with the Sachems winning the first meeting 10-4. In that game, the two teams battled to a draw in the first half, with North Reading edging out Pentucket 3-2 at halftime, but then the Sachems dominated the Hornets, scoring five unanswered goals en route to an easy win.
Though the Sachems wound up getting things going offensively late in the game, the low-scoring first half is probably a better indicator of the type of game fans can expect to see at Pipe Stave today.
Both Pentucket and North Reading have been suffocating defensively this season, as both teams have held their opponents to five goals or fewer 10 times this season. Overall, the Sachems have allowed only 88 goals in 17 games this season, or 5.2 per game, and North Reading has allowed 112 goals in 20 games, or 5.6 per game.
North Reading’s defensive success can largely be attributed to goalkeeper Nick Ponte and senior defenseman Tom Lewis, both of whom were recently named Cape Ann League All-Stars. The team also boasts senior Will Brown at midfield, another All-Star selection and a solid two-way player.
For the Sachems, the stoppers all season long have been Kyle Richardson and junior Josh Wesolowski, both Cape Ann League All-Stars, and coach Dan Leary also singled out midfielder Nick Zaia as a guy the team relies on to quarterback the defensive unit.