READING — Last year, the Reading High boys lacrosse team was a different team in the postseason than it was in the regular season.
Now, it’s a new season and once again, it’s a new team.
The 2018 Rockets won the MIAA Division 2 state title, finishing the season with a 16-7 record. They avenged a regular-season loss to Concord-Carlisle in the state championship game and turned the tables on Melrose and Winchester on their way to the finals.
“We lost a lot of people from last year,” said Reading coach Charlie Hardy, who is in his 19th season and carries a 334-91 record. “We’re going to have to find two players to replace Jack Geiger.”
Geiger, who is now playing for the UMass Amherst, was the Middlesex League MVP a year ago, as well as an All-American selection. He finished his career at Reading with 159 goals, 110 assists and 95 ground balls.
While Geiger is now playing for the Minutemen, the Rockets have a future UMass player returning.
Senior midfielder Michael Tobin played in the Boston Lax All-American game twice. He enters the season with 146 goals and 100 assists in his first three years, 51 goals and 31 assists last year. Boston Lax has Tobin ranked ninth in the state and second among public school players on that list.
“He’s one of the top five in Massachusetts and could be the best,” Hardy said. “We need to find other goal scorers so other teams won’t just focus on him.”
Other players who may be relied upon to provide offense include junior attackman Colin Comerford, senior Domenic Masucci and junior midfielder Brendan DiSilva. Masucci, who will play for Endicott College next year, will play midfield this spring after playing attack last season.
Senior midfielder Josh Williamson, goalie Charlie Giuliotti and defenseman Noah Donovan are captains along with Masucci and Tobin.
Junior Jack Emery is returning as a long-stick midfielder. Sophomore Drew Daley and junior Ryan Farwell are returning on defense.
“Our defense was young last year, but they saw a lot of action,” Hardy said. “They’re mostly sophomores and juniors now.”
The Rockets open the season at home against Marblehead on Monday (4 p.m.). They faced North Andover and St. John’s Prep in scrimmages.
“We looked decent,” Hardy said. “We use the scrimmages to evaluate, not necessarily to win. The team has done a good job of filling in the gaps. We have a good worth ethic.”
In the Middlesex League, Hardy sees Melrose, Wakefield and Winchester as teams that should contend with the Rockets for the title.
Outside the league, Reading plays a demanding schedule that includes a rematch with Concord-Carlisle on April 27 and games against both Division 1 state finalists from last season, defending champion Boston College High on April 16, and Acton-Boxborough on May 28. Bishop Guertin, a Division 1 state finalist in New Hampshire last year, is also on the schedule for May 9 in Nashua.
“We try to play as tough a schedule as we can,” Hardy said.