Perhaps the scariest thing about Claire Gatz is that she is at the cusp of her high school soccer career.
That’s so very good for the Mattituck High School girls team, not so good for the Tuckers’ opponents.
Just ask Southold/Greenport as the freshman striker was a one-young woman wrecking crew. Gatz scored the first two goals of the match and set up the third in the Tuckers’ 3-1 Suffolk County VII win at Dorrie Jackson Memorial Field in Greenport Thursday night.
The victory solidified Mattituck’s hopes of reaching the Class B playoffs and hurt the Clippers’ chances.
Gatz played on the team as an eighth-grader at central midfield. Rafael Morais, who took over the head coaching reins this year, saw something in her game and moved her to forward.
She hasn’t looked back, only forward, connecting for a team-best 11 goals and adding three assists. Not bad for someone who did not score a goal last season.
Gatz lifted the Tuckers (6-3, 5-2) into the lead with 23 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the opening half when she redirected Corinne Reda’s shot from the right side at the far post past goalkeeper Haley Brigham.
Only 80 seconds into the second half, the 14-year-old doubled the advantage, latching onto a Mackenzie Daly pass, bolting down the left wing before curling a shot to the far post.
Gatz returned the favor to Daly with 26:20 left in the second half when Daly slotted home her corner kick during a scramble in the penalty area for a three-goal margin.
Less than a minute later, sophomore Jill Golden pulled one back for the Clippers (3-5-3, 3-3-3) as she tallied at the left post past goalkeeper Sarah Santacrose with 25:35 to go.
Brigham, who entered the game with the second-most saves of any keeper in the county (140) behind Smithtown Christian’s Sarah Spreckels (143), had another busy game with 14 saves. She was coming off an amazing 25-save performance that preserved the Clippers’ 2-2 draw with Bishop McGann-Mercy Tuesday.
Southold was hindered by the absence of two injured captains. Forward Emily Perry, the lone senior on the team, has a back injury and junior defender Grace Syron has a sprained ankle.