Starting a high school girls lacrosse program on Long Island isn’t easy. A new team is going to take it lumps.
The Mattituck/Greenport/Southold Tuckers know only too well.
Wins have been hard to come by for the Tuckers in their first two years as a varsity team. Now, as they embark on their third season, they have a new head coach, Julie Milliman, and hope for improvement.
Milliman, who was the junior varsity coach the past two years, succeeds Kaitlin Leggio.
“I want to take a few steps forward this year,” Milliman said. “They’re just looking more mature, and I expect better things out of them this year. It’s tough. We’re still a developing program, but I do see a lot of growth. I expect some more wins than last season.”
The Tuckers have a corps of returning starters in attackmen Tara Gatz and Audrey Hoeg, midfielders Katie Hoeg, Shannon Gatz, Sydney Sanders and Molly Kowalski, and defenseman Maryanne Fitzgerald.
Megan Glenn, a senior midfielder coming off of knee injury, will start, said Milliman. The team’s other returning players are attackmen Laurel Bertolas, Natalie Troisi and Megan Van Gordon, and defensemen Sarah Manfredi and Jackie Conway.
Milliman said she expects to bring a few freshmen from the junior varsity team up to the varsity squad.
The Tuckers will miss goalie Emily Metz, who graduated. Alex Zaweski, a senior who played for the junior varsity team last year, is the new goalie.
The experience of two varsity seasons under their belt has to help the Tuckers. For one thing, they now know what is required to compete at that level.
“I just see them recognizing how hard they need to work to be where they want to be,” Milliman said. “I really think there is a good work ethic this year.”
As for wins and losses, the Tuckers may still be a year away from measuring their season by those numbers.
Milliman said, “It’s more or less getting things in place to build on next season because we can’t use the excuse that we’re a growing program any more.”