Things had started well for Mattituck/Southold, just not well enough. That was the sticking point.
Chelsea Marlborough won the game’s first seven draws, helping the Tuckers to a 4-2 lead in their first state girls lacrosse semifinal. Bronxville, however, won the next five draws, and with it the momentum that brought the Broncos their first state championship in the Class D final at SUNY/Cortland today.
Too many empty possessions — trips down the field that didn’t result in a shot on goal — hurt Mattituck. So did the 11 straight goals the Tuckers conceded over a period of 25 minutes, 31 seconds as they lost, 13-7. Bronxville claimed a place in tomorrow’s state final against Skaneateles.
“Lacrosse is a game of swings, so obviously we came out hard and strong, and that’s the way we wanted to, but we let ourselves get into this lull and the swing went their way,” said Mattituck midfielder Jane DiGregorio.
This new Class D classification has brought new opportunities for former Class C teams like Mattituck and Bronxville. Bronxville had history on its side. While this was the furthest Mattituck had ever advanced in the playoffs in its eight-year varsity history, Bronxville made its fourth straight state semifinal appearance. The Broncos had lost Class C semifinals in each of the past three years.
Bronxville (20-1) broke that semifinal barrier with a five-goal effort from senior midfielder Mason Warble. The Broncos also did well in keeping a tight rein on Mattituck’s two biggest scoring threats, sisters Mackenzie and Riley Hoeg. Mackenzie Hoeg had a goal and an assist, finishing the year with 75 points. Riley Hoeg’s assist gave her 77 points.
The New York State Sportswriters Association’s Class D poll that was released Monday had Bronxville ranked No. 1 and Mattituck No. 4.
“We just lost control of the draw,” Mattituck attack Francesca Vasile-Cozzo told reporters afterward. “What happens on the draw really makes the game.”
Mattituck defender Corinne Reda said: “We knew that we needed the ball to win. Like, that’s just how it goes, and winning the draws was the key factor to that. I think we either got tired or the other team figured out how we rolled, and that really shut us down.”
The start to the game looked good for Mattituck (14-5) as the Tuckers jumped to a 4-2 lead, with two goals and one assist by Vasile-Cozzo. Then things went Bronxville’s way. The Broncos pumped in the last five goals of the first half for a 7-4 halftime lead. Warble had three goals at the break.
After successive goals by Beth Finley (three goals) stretched the Bronxille lead to 13-4, Mattituck made a late mini-run, with strikes by Marlborough, Kaitlyn Tobin and DiGregorio (two goals, one assist).
Bronxville’s Olivia Jensen (two goals, one assist) was named the player of the game. Allie Berkery added two goals and Isabel Sondey also scored for Bronxville. Teammate Ellie Walsh picked up three assists. Bronxville goalie Gianna DiMinno made six saves.
Mattituck goalie Claudia Hoeg (seven saves) was named to the all-tournament team and Vasile-Cozzo received a sportsmanship award.
When the game ended, Mattituck players consoled each other while Bronxville sticks flew in the air and the Broncos celebrated.
“Our school, they’re pretty supportive,” Reda said. “They’re rooting for us, but I wish we could have had a better outcome for them.”
Reda is one of only two seniors on the team (injured goalie Emily Perry is the other), so the future looks bright for the Tuckers.
How big a step was it for Mattituck to get to this stage?
“I think it’s huge,” coach Matt Maloney said. “I think it’s huge for us to get here, not have a lot of seniors and have a chance to continue to progress, not just be happy that we’re here.”
The Tuckers have intentions of returning.
“Obviously, we were looking for a win at the end of the day, but it’s just one more step for next year,” Vasile-Cozzo said. “We’ll definitely be back.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold defender Brianna Fox chasing after Bronxville attack Olivia Jensen in the first half. (Credit: Lucas Kosmynka)