Here’s the question: Coming off the greatest season in program history, can the Mattituck/Southold girls lacrosse team turn in an even greater season this year?
The answer to that question will unfold over the next several months. Having said that, things look promising, very promising for the Tuckers. Just look at the facts:
Mattituck returns 21 players (six seniors, nine juniors and six sophomores), having lost only two (one was injured the entire season) to graduation.
One hundred percent of its scoring offense from last year is back. The defense remains virtually intact, and that was a defense that ranked second in Suffolk County, allowing 5.1 goals per game. Seven players tallied more than 20 goals and four bagged over 20 assists. Nine players have committed verbally or with their signatures to play in college, said coach Matt Maloney.
Sprinkle in healthy doses of confidence and experience, and this is what Mattituck (14-5 last year) brings to the field a year after reaching the New York State Class D semifinals for the first time before falling to Bronxville. It was the furthest Mattituck had ever advanced in the playoffs in its eight-year varsity history. It was a season that saw Mattituck win its first county and Long Island titles.
“It was a really nice run for us,” Maloney said. “I think it was kind of a steppingstone season for this program to continue on the path that we’ve been on. Last year we had a bunch of youth again. This year that youth is growing up.”
Mattituck is loaded with familiar names and fully capable players. Among them are the team’s top scorers from last year, sisters Riley Hoeg (77 points) and Mackenzie Hoeg (71 points). Riley is a junior attack and Mackenzie is a sophomore midfielder.
The midfield is bolstered by All-County senior Jane DiGregorio and senior Chelsea Marlborough. They will support an attack that includes juniors Francesca Vasile-Cozzo and Julie Seifert.
Alex Beebe, a senior who was the team’s defensive MVP last year, fortifies the defense along with seniors Ashley Burns and Brianna Fox and junior Lauren Zuhoski. Senior Alex Talbot and junior Claudia Hoeg split time in goal last year. Claudia Hoeg was named to the all-state tournament team.
Kaitlyn Tobin, a sophomore who can play attack or midfield “could be an X factor for us, somebody who might put us over the edge,” said Maloney.
The Tuckers can also draw from attack Rachel Janis, midfielders Maddie Schmidt and Charlotte Keil, and defenders Emily McKillop, Sarah Bihm, Halle Foster, Maggie Bruer and Payton Maddaloni.
Mattituck is seeded fifth among 25 teams in Division II.
“It was a great learning experience getting up there” to the state semifinals, Maloney said. “I think we have a lot of hungry girls, a lot of girls that keep last year in the back of their mind, what it was like.”
And perhaps wonder what 2018 will bring.
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold went deeper into the playoffs last year than it ever did before. Now what do the Tuckers do for an encore? (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)