The Mattituck High School girls soccer team reminded Suffolk County League VII foes that it has weapons other than freshman striker Claire Gatz Tuesday afternoon.
Gatz, who has tallied a team-best 15 goals, was shut out by host Smithtown Christian, but a couple of teammates took over her goal-scoring responsibilities in a 4-3 victory as the Tuckers survived a late scare.
Junior midfielder Elvira Puluc struck twice within a 66-second span in the opening half for her first two goals of the season and Jane DiGregorio added two more in the second half.
The Tuckers (9-3-1, 8-2-1), who moved closer to securing a home game in the Suffolk Class B semifinals, moved past idle Babylon (7-3-1, 7-2-1) into second place. Babylon plays at Southold/Greenport (4-6-3, 4-4-3) Wednesday in a game that could help determine the Clippers’ playoff chances.
Puluc, the younger sister of Oscar Puluc, a former standout on the Mattituck boys team, put home a Mackenzie Daly pass into the lower left corner past goalkeeper Sarah Spreckels with 24 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first half.
Less than a minute later Puluc took advantage of some defensive confusion in the Smithtown Christian penalty area and put home a Gatz feed for a two-goal lead with 23:07 left.
DiGregorio, who tallied twice in a 9-2 home win over Smithtown Christian on Sept. 25, duplicated her feat over the final 40 minutes. This time, however, the Tuckers needed all of her goals to ensure victory.
First, she put in a Puluc feed for a 3-0 advantage with 30:28 to go in the second half before Smithtown Christian senior midfielder Chloe Drzymala struck for two beautiful long-range goals after Tuckers starting goalkeeper Sarah Santacroce was replaced by Johanna Pedone. Drzymala drilled a 30-yard blast home with 23:37 remaining to pull the Knights (0-10, 0-10) within 3-1 before DiGregorio headed in an Amy Macaluso corner kick with 16:43 left for her third goal of the season, restoring the Tuckers’ two-goal margin.
However, Drzymala outdid herself with 13:31 to go by unleashing a remarkable 35-yard free kick into the upper near right corner to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Junior midfielder Mikayla Crosier moved the Knights within one as she fired a shot from a difficult angle from the right side to close out the scoring with 2:39 remaining in the match.
The Tuckers will host first-place Port Jefferson Thursday, looking to avenge a 6-1 road loss to the Royals on Sept. 20.
Mattituck will welcome Center Moriches in its homecoming game Saturday at 2 p.m. before the Mattituck boys take on the Red Devils at 4 p.m.