Reading tips Lexington in ML Liberty boys lacrosse showdown

LEXINGTON — Bolstered by a clutch performance late in a back-and-forth contest, Reading was able to hold off Lexington in a 14-13 road win to take control of the Middlesex League Liberty Division on Friday night at Lexington High School.

Tied at 12-12 in the final frame, Reading senior Nicholas Palermo came up huge, scoring with 5:14 to go to pull ahead, before unloading a rocket from distance with 3:28 remaining for his fifth and sixth goals of the night, to put Reading up 14-12.

“Nick is unbelievable,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said. “He’s a senior leader, he’ll do anything for you and he plays hard. He’s an awesome kid, coachable, I can’t say enough about him.”

Lexington (9-4-0) would respond with 17 seconds to go, when sophomore Sean Crogan (four goals, three assists) scored to make it 14-13.

The Minutemen would get another crack at it in the final seconds, but Rockets netminder Finn Granara came up big as the clock struck zeroes.

“It came down to a hell of a save by our goalie at the end,” said Hardy. “That team is well coached. … Our team seems to rise to that level.”

Even at 10-10 in the final frame, junior Eamon Centrella put Reading ahead just 1:19 in, but Lexington answered quickly on Sean Crogan’s second. Colby Goodchild put the Rockets back up 12-11 with 8:58 to go, before Crogan tallied his third to even the score just 2:02 later.

After an eventful first half left Reading with a 7-6 lead, Lexington senior Patrick Crogan (seven goals, four assists) went to work, tying the game with his fourth goal just 20 seconds into the third.

He then scored his fifth and sixth goals at the 4:34 and 5:33 marks to make it 9-7.

Reading (11-3-0) answered on junior Robert Granara’s third of the night with 4:59 left in the third, before Palermo notched his fourth to make it 9-9.

Cullen Granara made it 10-9 Rockets with 46 seconds remaining, but Patrick Crogan would score again at the buzzer to tie the game at 10-10.

In a teeter-totter opening half, Palermo opened the scoring 1:50 in, before Sean Crogan notched his first 33 seconds later. Jack Jaynes would net his first 18 seconds after that to make it 2-1 Rockets.

Palermo and Patrick Crogan scored at 4:15 and 6:11 making it a 3-2 Reading lead.

Just 1:17 later, Robert Granara scored twice 1:19 apart, before Lexington cut it to 5-4 with goals from Thomas Egan and Patrick Crogan to close out the first.

Patrick Crogan notched his third 3:39 into the second to tie it, but Palermo answered just 26 seconds later, putting Reading back ahead. Jaynes notched his second 1:34 later, and Lexington sophomore Glenn Burcsu scored with 4:53 remaining, making it 7-6.

With a win over Winchester in its next game, Reading will take home the Middlesex League Liberty Division title.

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