Defending county champs Tuckers dominate in early season wins — what a start for the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold girls lacrosse team.

Senior co-captain Sofia Knudsen notched a hat trick — inside of the opening five minutes.

Sophomore Gianna Calise won every faceoff for the Suffolk County Class D defending champions, while adding a hat trick of her own. And sophomore Page Kellershon whipped the ball around, scoring and setting up her teammates for goals.

It all added up to an emphatic 12-3 non-league victory over Bellmore Kennedy in the Tuckers’ season opener at East Islip Middle School Friday evening.

“They could be a real three-headed monster this year and really put Suffolk County on notice,” head coach Logan McGinn said of the trio.

The Tuckers opening win came against a quality team. Bellmore (11-5 last year), a Class C school, won its league title in Nassau County and opened its spring campaign with a 12-2 win over Island Trees last week.

“As a first game, getting our legs on us, that was a great game,” McGinn said.

Temperatures were in the low 40s on a dreary evening. But the Tuckers’ attitude afterwards was upbeat and sunny.

“It was a great start,” said Knudsen, who finished with a game-high four goals. “We have a bunch of things to work on, but it was really nice to come out on the field for the first time and pull out a win.”

“It really set the momentum for the season to come,” said Kellershon, who finished with two goals and three assists.

“We moved the ball really well. After losing a lot of seniors, I think we really filled those spots pretty well.”

The Tuckers scored early and often, rolling to a 6-1 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

“We said from the start that we wanted to put our foot on the gas,” Calise said. “We needed to show them and ourselves that we’re not playing around. We’re here to win,”

Knudsen put in three consecutive goals off Kellershon feeds at 3:39, 4:28 and 4:55 past goalie Adrianna Califano (12 saves) to start the game.

“It was really quick, shot after shot. I’ve never done anything like that,” said Knudsen, who credited her three years playing alongside Kellershon for her success.

“We have really good chemistry. We know each other so well.”

McGinn was impressed with Knudsen.

“She’s a senior leader and for her to come out and pump in three, that’s big time and helps the younger girls,” he said. “It’s nice to have a leader that leads by example.

“Page doesn’t really know it yet but she is one of the top players on the island,” McGinn added. “She is just athletic and gifted as it comes. She just has a very good lacrosse IQ.”

Kellershon said she would rather give than receive.

“I’d rather have the assists,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m getting the team more involved, but a goal always works.”

Calise was outstanding on faceoffs, winning all 11.

“She was very good last year,” McGinn said. “She said she wanted to get better. She’d be working out and has gotten bigger, faster and stronger.”

Calise credited Kellershon for picking up loose balls after the faceoffs.

“Me and Page have been working together for the last three years,” she said. “We’re getting through not just the draws, but on and off the field. I think that bond clicked at one point. Just knowing where I’m going to put it, she goes there and grabs it. She’s great with that.”

After Grace Quinn (three assists) gave Mattituck a 7-2 lead with 2:16 remaining in the second half, Calise won the ensuing faceoff, ran through the defense and scored her third goal for an 8-2 halftime advantage.

“I just knew that if I were to use my speed, no one is going to catch me,” Calise said.

Claire McKenzie (two assists) and Ruby Villani (one assist) also found the net for Mattituck. Senior goaltender Aiko Fujita (three saves) earned the win. Ella Galjanich scored three goals for the Cougars.

On Saturday, Mattituck proved that Friday’s victory wasn’t a fluke, recording a 10-4 triumph over Vestal (Binghamton), which reached the 2023 Class C state quarterfinals. Calise collected four goals and one assist, Kellershon three goals and an assist.

Despite the torrid start, McGinn said the Mattituck squad has plenty to work and expects improvement in several areas.

This could be the start of something big for the Tuckers — again.

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