To say one family is directly responsible for consecutive state Class D championships would be unfair to the others committed to building the Mattituck/Southold girls lacrosse program.
The Hoeg family of Mattituck was at the forefront of turning the Tuckers into a perennial Suffolk power, though, growing the program from the youth level and being a familiar name in box scores for much of the program’s nine-year history.
“I think the family, probably the No. 1 thing, has shown the commitment to really building a program,” said Tuckers coach Matt Maloney, minutes after defeating Bronxville in the state Class D championship game at SUNY Cortland, 11-7. “I think that’s what a lot of people have bought into. They have an unbelievable commitment level to bettering themselves and to the team approach.”
On the field, three Hoegs left their marks this spring. Riley and Mackenzie, a senior and junior, respectively, paced an attack predicated on ball movement and patience. Their father, James, is the team’s assistant coach. Their mother, Karen, is the scorekeeper.
“They’ve been together for so long, and that connection has been really such a target for other teams,” Maloney said. “That’s what also opens up some other people.”
The duo combined for 148 points (Mackenzie 78 and Riley 70), with Maddie Schmidt, Julie Seifert, Kaitlin Tobin and Francesca Vasile-Cozzo adding additional firepower.
It was Mackenzie, though, who scored five straight goals for her team in the state final, turning a 5-3 lead into a 9-4 advantage. Riley assisted three of those goals.
They aren’t the first Hoeg sisters to come through the program. Katie, a rising senior at North Carolina, is a star for the Tar Heels but played through some of the lesser times in Mattituck/Southold history. Even then, the family was determined to turn the team into something greater.
“I remember watching my sister’s games, and they’d only score like one or two goals a game and they’d lose every game,” said Riley, who will play at Virginia next season. “I think we just worked really hard. We’re all really close and we’ve played together since we were in sixth grade, so I think that’s really helped us get where we are today.”
A cousin, Claudia, a senior, manned the cage for four years and recorded her 400th career save in the state semifinals. Her sister, Audrey, is a rising senior at William & Mary who played with Katie in high school.
With her family all graduated and no other relatives in the pipeline, Mackenzie will be the only Hoeg on the field next season.
Sure, there will be other pieces around her after 11 seniors graduate, but there will no longer be the same family chemistry. Fans during Mattituck/Southold’s playoff run heard the Hoeg name constantly over the loudspeakers.
“Save … by Claudia Hoeg!”
“Goal … by Mackenzie Hoeg!”
“Assist … by Riley Hoeg!”
“This was our last game as seniors,” Riley said of her and Claudia. “To leave our mark on Mattituck, I feel like that’s really special.”
TUCKERS’ ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Babylon, 12-3
LONG ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Carle Place, 9-8
vs. Palmyra-Macedon, 9-5
vs. Bronxville, 11-7