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Girls Lacrosse: Tuckers ‘D’-elighted with second county title

Call them Hoegie’s heroes.

That would be a reference to sisters Mackenzie and Riley Hoeg as well as their cousin, Claudia Hoeg, not to mention the rest of the Mattituck/Southold girls lacrosse team.

With the three Hoegs playing instrumental roles, Mattituck turned in a complete performance, looked sharp despite a 17-day layoff since its last game, and captured a second straight Suffolk County championship Tuesday night. Mackenzie Hoeg put up four goals and four assists as Mattituck trounced Babylon, 14-6, in the Suffolk Class D final at Eastport-South Manor High School. Riley Hoeg registered three goals and four assists.

“Winning, like no matter what, is the best feeling in the world, especially when it’s a county championship,” defender Ashley Burns said. “Not many people can say they even played in a county championship. To say that we won it twice is great.”

Coach Matt Maloney said: “It feels, obviously, great. It’s a nice relief.”

Mattituck’s next challenge will be the Long Island final on Sunday at Islip High School. The Tuckers (12-5) will face the winner of Thursday’s Carle Place-Oyster Bay game.

It had been nearly three weeks since Mattituck’s last game. That’s an awful long time to be idle.

“We were all waiting for this day to come,” said Burns.

When it finally arrived, they were ready.

Mattituck showed no signs of rust, from starting goalie Claudia Hoeg, who made four quality saves, to the defense in front of her to the potent offense.

“She played amazing,” Mackenzie Hoeg said. “She definitely saved us on a couple.”

Babylon (9-9) has some people who can put the ball in the net, people like Emma Ward (54 goals, 29 assists this year), Erin MacQuarrie (37 goals, 26 assists) and Amanda Guerra (47 goals, 11 assists). Those three were each limited to a goal apiece by a determined defense led by Brianna Fox, Alex Beebe, Lauren Zuhoski and Burns.

“When you’re favored, though, sometimes there’s that added pressure to perform, and I think our team today did an outstanding job, especially on the defensive end,” Maloney said. “Ultimately, that led to less [Babylon] shots, so our defense really rose to the occasion.”

Mattituck outshot Babylon, 22-14.

The Tuckers were humming on offense, too, surging to a 7-1 lead. Babylon pulled as close as 7-4 before Mattituck ran off the next four goals.

The Hoeg sisters continued their brilliant season. Mackenzie Hoeg, a sophomore, has 46 goals and 29 assists while Riley Hoeg, a junior, has 34 goals and 35 assists on the year. Mackenzie Hoeg, who also picked up five loose balls, was named the player of the game.

“She’s an incredible player,” Maloney said. “Her lacrosse IQ is so high. She puts herself in such great positions to succeed.”

Asked if she felt added pressure in the county final, Mackenzie Hoeg said, “I think that there is always a little bit of pressure, but I know that if I don’t perform, then the rest of my teammates will bring me up.”

There was plenty of help from her friends. Mattituck received an offensive boost from Francesca Vasile-Cozzo (two goals, two assists), Julie Seifert (three goals) and Chelsea Marlborough (two goals).

“I think we played awesome,” said Claudia Hoeg, who was relieved in goal by Alex Talbot with 9 minutes, 49 seconds left in the game and Mattituck leading, 11-5. “It was definitely a team effort, to have a stop on defense and translate it all the way up to the offense.”

Samantha Giovinazzo had two goals and one assist for Babylon. MacQuarrie won 5 of 8 draws and collected a game-high nine loose balls.

After the Tuckers were presented with their championship plaque, they were asked to pose for photo after photo after photo by media and fans.

Maloney, whose team reached the state semifinals last year for the first time, said he feels as if things are kicking into gear. “I think now it’s hitting some of the girls that now we’re back to where we worked all year long to be,” he said. “The girls are in a great place. They’re super hungry.”

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Photo caption: Player of the game Mackenzie Hoeg (four goals, four assists) scoring a first-half goal for Mattituck/Southold against Babylon goalie Anna Schipf. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)