The transition from losing team to winning team is a process, and it takes time. Typically, as a losing team improves, it goes from losing games by a lot to losing games by a little, and then, perhaps, to winning games.
The coach of the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold girls lacrosse team, Julie Milliman, saw her team close the gap somewhat last season, even if it wasn’t reflected in the 1-13 record.
“We were in more games last year and it looks like our team wants to win those games,” Milliman said. “This year we’re looking to win some of those games, hopefully.”
A big help for the Tuckers is the presence of their standout freshman center midfielder, Katie Hoeg, an all-league player who was the team’s leading scorer.
“She’s just a naturally talented athlete with lacrosse, and on top of it, she loves it,” Milliman said. “Every day she comes to practice and she works. She’s a phenomenal athlete, and she has the character.”
Five other returning starters are back. In addition to Hoeg’s cousin, freshman attackman Audrey Hoeg, there are junior defender Molly Kowalski, senior attackman Sydney Sanders, sophomore midfielder Trisha Brisotti and junior attackman Laurel Bertolas.
Natalie Troisi, a senior attackman, and Colby Prokop, a sophomore midfielder who was injured last season, return as well. Nikki L’Hommedieu, a junior who has played well for the junior varsity team, is the team’s No. 1 goalie.
“We’re still young,” said Milliman.
Milliman’s biggest worry, though, may be related to her defense. The Tuckers lost three starting defenders, an unsettling prospect for a team that was often playing in its own half of the field.
“We lost a lot of defense,” Milliman said. “Right now that’s going to be our focus.”
She said the Tuckers are working on controlling the draw and maintaining possession.
Milliman said all of the Tuckers will have roles to play.
“Being out in a small school, it’s difficult because we face a challenge every year with the numbers,” the coach said. “All the girls there, every last one of them, is going to matter.”
According to Milliman, it will be a successful season “if the girls develop as players and we develop as a team and we have fun along the way.”