Girls Lacrosse: Tuckers balanced attack secures win in Division II matchup

If one quality typifies the Mattituck/Southold/Greenport High School girls lacrosse team this season, it’s that its players like to share the wealth.

If Sage Foster doesn’t score, then perhaps Megan Tobin or Sofia Knudsen will find the net. Or maybe Brynn Gardner or Gianna Calise will find a way.

Those five players are already in double digits for goals this season — and they’ve played only eight games.

On Monday afternoon, MSG reminded host Elwood-John Glenn H.S. of just how balanced their attack is as Foster, Tobin and Knudsen scored 2 goals apiece in a 10-7 victory in Suffolk County Division II action.

“No one is selfish on this team,” Tobin said. “Everyone’s looking for each other. That’s what makes this year so much different than the past. We look for each other.”

Seven players scored goals Monday, including Grace Quinn, Page Kellershon, Ella Suglia and Gardner.

“We started off pretty strong,” said Foster, who added 2 assists. “They did come back in the second half which was, as our coach said, was a little too close for comfort.”

For the season, Knudsen (16 goals, 3 assists) leads the way, followed by Foster (13, 5), Gardner (12, 12) Tobin (12, 9), and Calise (11, 5). Knudsen is a junior, Calise a freshman. The rest are seniors.

“We preach this family attitude and family mentality,” head coach Logan McGinn said. “It’s never selfish. We are a dangerous team. We have nine or ten girls that can score from anywhere. We’re very fortunate. It makes my life a lot easier.”

And more difficult for opponents.

MSG (5-3, 3-3) bolted to a 6-2 halftime lead. Quinn began the scoring 2 minutes into the contest before Ava Mule tied it with the first of her 5 goals. The rest of the half was just about all MSG. Knudsen scored twice against goalie Piper Mascaros to give her side a lead it never relinquished. Tobin sandwiched her goals between a Gardner tally to close out the first-half scoring.

“We usually come out slow but today we really played well,” Knudsen said.

After Foster scored with 6:27 remaining in the game for a 9-4 advantage, it appeared MSG was cruising along. But the Knights (2-4, 2-4) had other ideas as Mule tallied 3 goals within two minutes to close the gap to 9-7 with 3:52 left.

Glenn pushed to equalize but junior goaltender Aiko Fujita (8 saves) made two vital stops, including denying Mule from point-blank range with 1:40 remaining.

“Aiko is the real deal; doesn’t really get rattled, stays calm, has a composure about her that’s hard to find,” McGinn said. “She rises up to those big moments. It’s kudos to her.”

Added Tobin: “She makes the saves that we don’t expect any goalie to really make. That’s a really big part of our team and people need to realize. It’s not just about the goal scorers. It’s about the defense.”

MSG managed to hold the ball for most of the rest of the way before Foster put an exclamation point on the win, connecting from close range with 6 seconds left.

Because most of Division II is composed of larger schools, MSG comes into many games as underdogs.

“I say to the girls all the time. It’s one of the best things going in as the underdog,” McGinn said. “You come in hungry and there are a lot of people that might not think you’re going to come out on top. You have nothing to lose. We get excited when we have those big-time names, the returning state champs or a very well-established school we circled on the calendar. It’s a game we want. That’s where we can make a name for ourselves.”

The team can make a bigger name for itself in the county tournament later this spring. MSG just might have a chip on its shoulder, after losing to Port Jefferson in a Class D outbracket game, 14-13, last year.

“The girls are really hungry,” McGinn said. “We got that bad taste in our mouth from last year, being close, yet so far. We’re hoping that this year we can deliver and accomplish that goal.”