GARRET MEADE PHOTO | From left, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Tricia Brisotti, Riverhead’s Carolyn Carrera, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s Audrey Hoeg and Riverhead’s Isabella LoPiccolo competing for a ground ball.
TUCKERS 13, BLUE WAVES 10
Some similarities can be found between the Riverhead and the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold girls lacrosse teams. Both squads are just emerging from infancy; Riverhead is in its third varsity season, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold is in its fourth. Both teams have a go-to player they can rely on; Riverhead looks to Carolyn Carrera, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold is led by Katie Hoeg.
The most significant difference between the teams on Saturday came down to this: Mattituck/Greenport/Southold has a season-opening win, and Riverhead doesn’t.
Hoeg was a big reason, too. Athletic, talented and competitive, Hoeg could probably do well in just about any sport she plays, but she may be at her best when that sport is lacrosse, her favorite.
Hoeg, a freshman who doesn’t play like a freshman, showed her value on Saturday. The midfielder shot in 6 goals from 9 shots and had 3 assists as the Tuckers downed Riverhead, 13-10, in a non-division season opener for both teams at Cutchogue West Elementary School. She also had 3 ground balls.
“She is a leader, but without having to say much,” Mattituck/Greenport/Southold coach Julie Milliman said. “She just leads by example. She is very knowledgeable of the game. She knows what to do and she makes sure her teammates know what to do. She really controls the field. And she’s unselfish at the same time. When she plays well, the team plays well.”
No surprise there.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Katie Hoeg, who had 6 goals and 3 assists in Mattituck/Greenport/Southold’s season-opening win, trying to maneuver around Riverhead’s Isabella LoPiccolo.
Hoeg played well as the Tuckers have already equaled their win total from last season.
“We did a good job as a team,” Hoeg said. “We improved so much from last year and we played a lot more as a team rather than as individuals.”
After falling behind, 3-1, in the opening 5 minutes 24 seconds, Mattituck/Greenport/Southold scored 4 straight goals (3 by Hoeg) to take the lead for good.
Sydney Sanders, Tricia Brisotti and Laurel Bertolas put in 2 goals apiece for the Tuckers. Audrey Hoeg, Katie’s cousin, had 1 goal and 2 assists. Natalie Troisi assisted twice.
“We did really well on offense,” Katie Hoeg said, “just like pacing and being patient and looking for each other.”
Nicole L’Hommedieu picked up the win in goal, making 5 saves.
Mattituck/Greenport/Southold did well in draw control, holding a 17-8 advantage over Riverhead in that area.
“Honestly, it was what I expected,” Milliman said of her team’s performance. “They have come to practice ever since Day 1 and they have worked hard every day. And every day they leave better players and as a better team. I expected them to do something good on the field.”
Ashley King, a former Shoreham-Wading River star player who went on to play for Massachusetts and Louisville in college, made her debut as Riverhead’s new coach. It wasn’t a winning one despite 4 goals and 2 assists from Carrera, a junior midfielder who has verbally committed to play lacrosse and soccer for Hofstra University. Sam Brodeur added 2 goals and 1 assist, Emily Jehle and Amanda Dickerson struck for 2 goals each, and Sabina Dorr passed for 4 assists for the Blue Waves.
The loss aside, Carrera said she has seen noticeable improvement in the Blue Waves since last year.
“We have a lot of potential,” she said. “Of course, I’m disappointed in the loss. A loss you can always improve on, but I’m not disappointed in the team. We’re in this together. We’re a family. We’re coming through this.”
King said turnovers hurt Riverhead, but she liked what she saw from players like Carrera, defenseman Michelle Danowski (“She’s an unbelievable, aggressive little fireball”) and attackman Sabina Dorr.
In the game’s final minutes, with the win secure, the Tuckers passed the ball around like veterans, draining the remaining time off the clock.
“We showed that we know how to win,” Milliman said. “We’ve never really been up at the end of a game and really had to kill time. Usually the other team is passing around on us out of mercy and feeling bad. We really showed that we can control the game when we want to.”