READING, Mass. – No. 10 seed Foxborough (16-3) continued their dominating brand of defensive lacrosse as they defeated No. 7 seed Reading 3-1 in a Friday evening Division 2 first-round matchup.
In a game that featured two All-American goalies and two disciplined team defenses, it was not a surprise that it would be a low scoring affair. Foxborough senior goalie Greg Stamatov and Reading junior netminder Matt Comerford were both on point all game saving eight and 12 shots, respectively.
Reading would strike first in the opening quarter as junior Greg Connery beat his man on a left side dodge and beat Stamatov and give the Rockets a 1-0 lead.
The one-goal Reading lead would hold up through the second quarter as both teams pitched shutouts in the scoreless second. The inability of both offenses to get quality shots on net was more a credit to the defensive game plans of both coaches and the discipline rotations of the players.
Foxboro’s aggressive on-ball defense stood out all evening, highlighted by the play of sophomore close defender Luc Valenza, who possesses some of the fastest hands in Massachusetts lacrosse.
Foxborough senior midfielder Jake Soccorso would tie the game in the third quarter with 1:49 remaining after both teams fought off the first penalties of the contest.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the fourth quarter Foxborough patiently controlled the majority of the possessions. Both defenses remained flawless until Foxborough junior midfielder Tyler Ames beat his man from X and snuck a shot past Comerford to give Foxboro a 2-1 lead with 3:52 remaining in the game.
Ames would add the third and final goal, with under a minute to play, to seal the win for Foxborough. The goal was a result of Comerford leaving the net in an attempt to gain a final possession for the Rockets.
“I am proud of these guys,” Foxborough head coach Matt Noone said. “Greg Stamatov is a great goalie but we have a great 10 people in front of him as well.”
Reading, playing without key members of their attack and defense, competed all game but could never muster enough quality opportunities to gain momentum.
“Both teams played outstanding and both teams have incredible goalies that played very well,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said. “Foxborough was great tonight and all of the credit goes to them.”
Lockdown D: The Foxborough defense has allowed only two goals in their last four games, including two wins over Bishop Feehan and Mansfield to conclude the regular season. They shut out Silver Lake 9-0 in the preliminary round of the D2 tournament and maintained their consistency on Friday.
“We are just a little town in Foxborough in the south that is finally here,” Noone said. “I think we proved it by beating Reading and I think we proved it last year.”
Stamatov has been the rock in net for Foxborough all season but the Villanova bound senior deferred all credit to his teammates.
“Everyone was all over the place and ready to help,” Stamatov said. “They forced shots that were down the alley and not good angles and I can make those saves a little bit easier.”
Next up: Foxborough will travel to Concord on Tuesday to take on No. 2 seed Concord-Carlisle (18-0) in the D2 EMass quarterfinals. C-C boasts one of the state’s best defenses with All-American goalie Doug Gouchoe (Air Force) and All-American close defender Henry Bumpus (Brown, football) leading the way. C-C defeated Wakefield 15-6 on Friday to advance to the quarters. Faceoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
“I do not know too much about them but I see that they are beating everyone so that is going to be a tough game,” Stamatov said. “If we just play our system we can beat anyone.”