Mackenzie and Riley Hoeg are not only sisters, but they’re close sisters. “We go everywhere together,” said Mackenzie.
That includes the lacrosse field, where the two have an uncanny knack of finding each other for goals, all to Mattituck/Southold’s benefit.
The Hoegs shared something else along with their teammates on Friday: Mattituck’s first county championship.
With the Hoegs combining for six goals and eight assists, Mattituck romped, 15-2, over Babylon in the Suffolk County Class D final at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. In doing so, the Tuckers (13-4) advance to the Long Island final June 4 at Adelphi University.
As Mattituck’s attack worked the ball around in the final moments, its bench players continually looked behind them to see the final seconds ticking down. Then, it was an eruption of joy as the Tuckers swarmed onto the field to celebrate something they had never achieved before in the team’s eight-year varsity history.
“It’s great to make history at Mattituck lacrosse,” Riley said. “It was even better than I thought it would be. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.”
Mackenzie said, “We’ve been working for this, all of us, our whole lives, and throughout this whole season we’ve been talking about it as our goal and it’s great to finally accomplish it.”
During the regular season, Mattituck whipped Babylon, 14-4. Once again, the Tuckers left no doubt about the outcome as the Hoeg sisters did their thing. Mackenzie, a freshman midfielder, put up four goals, two assists and collected six loose balls. Riley, a sophomore attack working behind the net, had six assists to go with two goals and two loose balls. They connected with each other for four goals as Mattituck built an 8-1 halftime lead.
“I swear, it’s twin telepathy,” said midfielder Jane DiGregorio, who brought Mattituck three goals and two assists. “They know where each other are all the time. It’s crazy. It’s a good asset to our team.”
Perhaps that’s to be expected of two players who have been playing together since they were 4 or 5.
“Me and Mac usually confide in each other on the field, like no matter what,” Riley said. “We always know to look for each other and we can always count on each other. I have her back and she has mine.”
Mattituck coach Matt Maloney said, “They have a great connection, but the whole group is kind of feeding off that sister mentality.”
For all of the Hoegs’ offensive production, there is much more to Mattituck’s winning formula. Chelsea Marlborough and DiGregorio are described by Maloney as the motors of the team. Marlborough won 11 of 16 draws, scored twice and collected six loose balls against Babylon (8-9). Mattituck also received a goal and two assists from Francesa Vasile-Cozzo, two goals from Julie Seifert and a goal by Ashley Burns.
Both Babylon goals came from Amanda Guerra.
“We were pumped all day,” DiGregorio said. “We had our music [playing on the bus ride to the field]. We were in our element. We were ready.”
Despite not playing a game in nearly three weeks, Mattituck looked sharp. The Tuckers did a good job keeping a tight reign on Babylon’s biggest threat, Emma Ward, who was held without a point.
Mattituck outshot the Panthers, 23-4.
“We’ve got a really great group here, from top to bottom,” Maloney said. “They came out and executed. … They worked so hard that it’s just nice to see them reap the benefits now.”
It’s also a special achievement for Maloney, a 10-year coaching veteran. “A lot of people are thankful to be done by Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “I always wanted to be playing past it, and it’s my first opportunity as a head coach to be doing that.”
It’s a big day for Mattituck. Some of the team members have a junior prom to look forward to tonight, but DiGregorio said first things were first.
“Mattituck has never done this so, just knowing that you’re the first and you’re putting that first banner up is amazing,” she said. “We’re going all the way. We have to.”
Photo caption: Chelsea Marlborough and Jane DiGregorio embrace after the Tuckers’ victory Friday. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)