TUCKERS 19, MONARCHS 6
With Mattituck/Greenport/Southold leading by a healthy eight-goal margin late in the opening half Tuesday afternoon, Audrey Hoeg came in, bearing down on an empty Bishop McGann-Mercy goal.
Instead of shooting, Hoeg went around the cage and waited for goalie Alyssa DeVito to return to the net as the sophomore midfielder set up a play.
Hoeg and her Tuckers teammates have been there before. They have been on the short end of a score many a time and Hoeg felt it was the sportsmanlike thing to do, not to shoot into an open net in what turned into a 19-6 victory in a Suffolk County Division II girls lacrosse game at Cutchogue West Elementary School.
“It’s just a matter of being fair at some point,” Hoeg said. “Something about scoring on an open net kind of sounds like a cheap shot to me. It’s not exactly fair. And we were up by a lot so I didn’t want to run up the score too much, especially without anyone having a chance to stop me.”
Hoeg, who wound up with plenty of goals, scoring a team-high five and assisting on two others, knows the feeling.
“We were in the spot not long ago,” she said. “Mattituck was once a team that was new and wasn’t doing well at all and getting crushed by teams. So it’s important for us to remember that we were once in that spot. And it’s important for us to remember how you feel when you’re in that spot. We don’t want to do that to any other teams.”
The win pushed the Tuckers (8-5, 7-5) closer to clinching their very first playoff spot since the program began five years ago. They will host Eastport/South Manor on Thursday and conclude the regular season at Elwood/John Glenn on Tuesday.
“This year has been so wonderful,” said senior Lauren Waters, one of several players honored on Senior Day. “We’re so close to going to the playoffs. Being a senior and getting to go to the playoffs the first year is such a great way to leave the program with such high hopes for the future. We’ve been very close in the past, but we really have a shot this year.”
First-year Tuckers coach Meghan Cereola has liked what she has seen.
“I came in here with a goal,” she said. “I sat down the girls the first indoor practice back in January. ‘Listen, I am here to work you. I’m here to teach you as many things as I can. Let’s make it a goal to get to the playoffs.’ A lot of people said it was an extreme goal, but you’ve got to think big, dream big. That’s what we did.”
The Monarchs (1-10, 1-10) might be in that position someday. They are a young program and are taking their lumps, much like the Tuckers did in previous seasons.
“A brand new program,” McGann-Mercy coach Mike Katz said. “Lots to learn. We’re trying to improve, moving forward. We’re learning on the move.”
Katz, who is also a goalie coach, displayed some sportsmanship of his own in defeat, relaying some instruction to Tuckers reserve goalie Claudia Hoeg, a seventh-grader, when she replaced Nikki L’Hommedieu in the second half.
“She idolizes my daughter,” Katz said of Lluna, a top goalie who will attend St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington in the fall. “I don’t care who I coach as long as I am coaching and the kids get something out of it. I like to do things like that.”
The Tuckers put this one away quickly, scoring seven times in the opening 10 minutes 8 seconds. By then, cousins Audrey and Katie Hoeg (four goals, two assists) had recorded hat tricks. McGann-Mercy sophomore Savanah Connors had a hat trick of her own.
After Claudia Hoeg entered the game, L’Hommedieu became a field player and scored a goal.
“She’s very fast and has great stick skills,” Cereola said. “She’s really our only goalie. When they started five years ago, she was the only girl who stepped up and wanted to play goalie. This year, she said, ‘I haven’t gotten the chance to play field. I’ve always played goalie.’ So it’s kind of a judgment call going into the second half whether we let her go onto the field. When she does, she produces.”