Riley Hoeg took her place at the center of Adelphi University’s draw circle June 1, and after the flick, came up with a scoop in a scuffle with less than three minutes left in the game to help her Mattituck/Southold girls lacrosse team win its third straight Class D Long Island championship title with a 9-8 win over Carle Place.
“We knew if we could win that possession we had it in the bag,” Hoeg said of grabbing the ball before her team bled the clock. “Payton Maddaloni and my sister [Mackenzie Hoeg] were hustling after it at the draw circle whether the ball was going straight up in the air or toward them. They were crashing in and that was really effective. We’re so excited to go back upstate and looking forward to who we’re going to play next.”
The Tuckers travel to SUNY Cortland June 7 for a 9 AM state semifinal match against Palmyra-Macedon.
The senior attack and seven others got on the stat sheet, including classmate Francesca Vasile-Cozzo, who tallied two along with her. Vasile-Cozzo scored what at the time was an insurance goal that gave the Tuckers a 9-6 lead, but ended up being the game winner when Emiline Biggin’s late goal cut the deficit to one with 2:50 left to play.
“When we knew we had to get the job done, and we did,” Vasile-Cozzo said. “In my head I was thinking, ‘I need to get this one in,’ but the majority of it comes down to my teammates. I couldn’t do anything without them.”
Hoeg set up Vasille-Cozzo’s first goal before she was fed the ball from her younger sister for a score that made it 4-1. After Carle Place cut the lead in half, senior Julie Siefert capped off a two-goal run that gave Mattituck (13-5) its largest lead of the afternoon, 6-2. Unmarked, she had an easy time rocketing the ball in from close range off a pass from Vasile-Cozzo on the wing with 8:55 left in the first half.
Carle Place’s Julia Winer scored two goals in the final five minutes to reduce the Frogs’ deficit to 6-4, but the Tuckers responded less than a minute into the second half when Riley Hoeg scored with the help Mackenzie once again. Kaitlin Tobin added a free-position goal that re-extended the advantage to four, 8-4, with 15 minutes remaining.
Because Mattituck and Carle Place (12-3) have faced off in the last three Long Island title-game wins, the two teams know each other well, which made it easier when strategizing game plans.
“We knew they were going to be a fast team, so we knew we needed to get in, stop the breakaways,” senior defender Lauren Zuhoski said. “We also knew they weren’t going to be the strongest team with their stick skills, so we knew to pressure them when we needed to and jump any passes we could.”
Vasile-Cozzo came up with a big knock-down in the second half that kept the Frogs out of their zone during Carle Place’s 2-0 run.
“We watched film on them and saw they were staring down their passes, and we knew our defense is solid with stick knockdowns, so we focused on doing that and getting the ground ball,” the attacker said.
Staying strong throughout the entire game is something she and Zuhoski said the Tuckers will be focusing on as they move on to defend their state title.
“We need to always be on our game and not rely on the cushion that we build ourselves in the first half,” Zuhoski said. “We’ve had some pretty strong competition this season — some huge wins and some close losses. I think we have what it takes.”
“We had a lot of trouble catching and finishing our shots, and I think it kind of gets in our heads and then the nerves get the best of us,” Vasile-Cozzo added. “We’re going to forget about these two games, definitely, and focus more on what we want to do, play how we know we can play — not down to anyone’s level. I think we have a good group of girls. And we know what’s coming for us.”