CORTLAND, N.Y. — In a game in which the Mattituck/Southold girls lacrosse team never trailed, there was still uncertainty. But that’s OK. The Tuckers have thrived off uncertainty since the day after winning the state Class D championship last spring.
This year's team was left in the capable hands of sisters Riley Hoeg and Mackenzie Hoeg, cousin Claudia Hoeg and a deep supporting cast in Francesca Vasile-Cozzo, Kaitlin Tobin, Lauren Zuhoski and a slew of other defenders.
And they delivered the program’s second straight state Class D championship on Saturday at SUNY Cortland with an 11-7 win over Bronxville.
Mackenzie Hoeg scored five straight goals for Mattituck (15-5), lifting a Tuckers offense that had early troubles finding the back of the net. Her first goal made it 5-3 and her last goal made it 9-4.
Francesca Vasile-Cozzo, who had five assists, fed Riley Hoeg (one goal, three assists) for a 10-4 lead with 8:55 remaining.
“I just had such a good view of the field,” said Vasile-Cozzo, a senior. “The cutters do a great job cutting at the right time, and it’s so obvious when they’re open, so it’s really just on me to get the pass there.”
Players and coach Matt Maloney were quick to point to an April 25 loss to Harborfields as a game that ignited the Tuckers’ championship run.
“You can gain a lot of experience from winning, but also from losing,” said Claudia Hoeg, a senior who made seven saves Saturday. “And I think after that [Harborfields] game, we realized that we have to work harder and want it so much more. We saw the end in sight and where we wanted to be at the end of the season.”
Maloney said his group “kind of went back and hammered out some things” after the loss and became a better team.
“There were some uncertainties if we’d be able to come back, and certainly if we’d be able to win again with some great Class D teams up here,” he said. “These kids really rose, they really rose to the level they needed to be at, to play at.”
Mackenzie Hoeg, a junior, said everyone on the team remaining confident, even in the face of uncertainty: “I think that all the girls on the team knew that we had a really great potential to come back here and win.”