CORTLAND, N.Y. — Claudia Hoeg got off to a solid start in Friday’s game but was at her best in its biggest moment.
It was also quite possibly the biggest moment in her team’s history.
Hoeg made a point-blank save to deny a wide-open shooter with 2.5 seconds remaining and preserve the Tuckers’ 7-6 lead over South Jefferson in a Class D semifinal at SUNY-Cortland. The stop put Mattituck in the state girls lacrosse final for the first time, where they will play Bronxville on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
“There were no defenders nearby so it was a little nerve-wracking [but] I just had to remain calm,” said Hoeg, who made six saves. “It was a low shot and they were doing that throughout the game, so I was hoping it would be in that location. I just got my stick down and hoped for the best.”
“I remember turning around and seeing the two-on-one with Claudia,” said midfielder Chelsea Marlborough (two goals, two assists), who scored with 11:13 left to put Mattituck ahead 7-5. “Everyone was huddled around Claudia. I couldn’t see if it’s a save or not, then Claudia stands up with the ball. I thought to myself, ‘We made it, we made it!’ ”
Mattituck (14-5) had a goal disallowed with 3:04 left due to an illegal stick but still led 7-5 until South Jefferson’s Sydney Roderick cut the lead to one with 1:53 left. Jane DiGregorio won the ensuing draw for Mattituck and the Tuckers brought the clock down to 15.4 seconds, when South Jefferson (14-5) forced a turnover to set up its final possession.
South Jefferson opened the scoring, but Mattituck took a 2-1 lead when Maddie Schmidt scored with 14:07 left in the first half and led for the remainder of the game. Julie Seifert (two goals), DiGregorio and Kaitlin Tobin also scored for Mattituck.
“We answered any type of run they went on,” coach Matt Maloney said. “Last year, there were definitely nerves, and this year there were still nerves, but maybe the girls managed them better.”
In 2017, Mattituck made its first trip to the state tournament and held an early 4-2 lead over Bronxville in the semifinals, before allowing an 11-0 run in a 13-7 loss.
Marlborough said that last year the Tuckers were happy just to make the trip upstate, unlike this season. “We’re obviously still excited to be here,” she said, “but now we have a job to accomplish.”