If it hasn’t happened already, former Mattituck/Southold high school girls lacrosse players will be bumping into each other as college teammates and/or opponents in the near future. Three Mattituck seniors have inked national letters of intent for NCAA Division I schools. That will raise the number of Tuckers to go on to play college lacrosse up to 11.
“I think that’s amazing, especially when my [older] sister was playing, we were kind of a smaller team and we never imagined that it would emerge into such a great program and all these girls are going to great schools,” said goalkeeper Claudia Hoeg.
Hoeg was one of the three Mattituck seniors who participated in Tuesday morning’s signing ceremony at Mattituck High School. She chose William & Mary, where she will be reunited for one season with her sister, Audrey, currently a junior attacker for the Tribe.
“It will be really exciting,” Claudia said. “She is definitely more excited than I am.”
Also putting pen to paper Tuesday was Claudia’s cousin, attacker Riley Hoeg, who has chosen Virginia. Her older sister, Katie, is a junior attacker for North Carolina.
Riley said: “Ever since my sister started looking [at colleges], I was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that. I want to be just like her.’ ”
Meanwhile, attacker Francesca Vasile-Cozzo has signed on with LIU Post.
“It’s really pretty cool,” Vasile-Cozzo said. “We’ve all played lacrosse ever since we were little and it’s a dream for us to play in college and it’s kind of just like a dream come true for all of us.”
The first Mattituck player to have played in college is Trish Brisotti, a senior midfielder at LIU Post.
These latest three signees headline a senior class that coach Matt Maloney believes will number 11 for the defending New York State Class D champions.
Claudia Hoeg backstopped a strong Mattituck defense last season that helped the Tuckers to a 15-5 record and the first state championship in their eight-year history. She made 72 saves last season, giving her 266 for her career.
Maloney said, “She’s really strong at eight meters and clearing the ball, and just has a knack for making the big play.”
None was bigger than her point-blank stop of Mia Buckingham with two seconds left in the state semifinals to secure a 7-6 victory over South Jefferson. It was the biggest save in program history.
Riley Hoeg, a four-time All-County player, is Mattituck’s longest-tenured player. She will enter her sixth varsity season next spring and will be asked to move to midfield.
“Each year she has gotten better and better,” Maloney said. He added: “She has a really high lacrosse IQ. I’m fully confident that she’s going to be able to do it, but her strength, as [with] Francesca, both of them really, they have been the table-setters for our team the last couple of years.”
Riley Hoeg had 45 goals and 46 assists last season, and has 156 goals and 162 assists for her career.
The left-handed Vasile-Cozzo, meanwhile, can pose problems for opposing defenses as well. “Lefties are not as common in this game,” Maloney said. “I think that really creates bad matchups for some defenses.”
Vasile-Cozzo put up 21 goals and 41 assists last season, giving her 47 goals and 82 assists for her career.
“That’s a lot of creating offense between them,” said Maloney, who took over the team in 2015.
While the players smiled, joked and posed for photos in front of the school’s trophy case, Maloney, standing off to the side, couldn’t help but grin at the scene.
“What we’re seeing today, this started years before me,” he said. “Their parents, their families and their dedication to the sport is way before my time and I’m lucky to have coached them.”
Photo caption: Mattituck/Southold coach Matt Maloney with three of his seniors who signed national letters of intent for NCAA Division I schools. From left: goalkeeper Claudia Hoeg (William & Mary), attacker Francesca Vasile-Cozzo (LIU Post) and attacker Riley Hoeg (Virginia). (Credit: Bob Liepa)