NAUGATUCK — The Woodland and Naugatuck girls tennis teams were on a collision course last week, both starting the season undefeated at 3-0. Last Thursday the two rivals met on the court and the Hawks escaped with a slim 4-3 win over a much-improved Naugatuck squad.
“I knew this would be a tough match,” Woodland head coach Jessica DeGennaro said. “Naugatuck had their entire team coming back from last year and they have experience. This is the strongest team they have had under Coach (Jose) Sendra from top to bottom.”
The Greyhounds took the top singles match with Hannah Kim besting Hope Gavigan by an 8-1 margin. Then it was the Hawks’ turn as Rachel Mariano outlasted Kayla Gallant in the No. 2 singles match by a 9-7 outcome.
“I felt coming in we needed this match,” Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra said. “While it was our first loss of the season, it served as a test of where we are among the top NVL teams and I was very pleased with our girls’ effort.”
Woodland gained the edge by winning the No. 3 singles match when Ally Mayne got past Mikaela Santo in an 8-2 final. The Greyhounds fought right back and tied the meet by winning the fourth singles match with Sarah Cook battling past Salma Shitia 8-6.
“It was really a close match with a lot of long rallies that lasted three hours,” DeGennaro said. “We have a lot of experience returning five seniors and I’m happy with the way we have started the season.”
The match was tied 2-2 after the singles portion of play and this contest was going to be decided in the three double sets. The Hawks took the lead when Lauren Tompkins and Erica Boccuzzi got past Kayla Rotatori and Liz Perez in an 8-6 showdown at No. 1 doubles.
Woodland decided the match by winning the second doubles matchup with Ayah Galal and Katie Rioux defeating Ashley Burkman and Tathiana Serrano by an 8-4 margin. Naugatuck closed the gap by winning the final doubles match with Chelsea Iglesias and Crystal Wooster earning the victory over Daphne Ciancolo and Paige Gainey in an 8-2 final.
“It really could have gone either way with so many close matches,” Sendra said. “The girls responded well to our first test of the season and the close matches have given me and the girls inspiration to improve our play.”
The Greyhounds, already with a win over Holy Cross earlier in the year, went on to defeat Watertown on Monday by a 6-1 margin and have victories over two of the top teams in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Kim set the tone early, battling in a tough 8-5 loss to the Indians’ Amanda Orsillio. Naugy swept the rest of the singles, with Gallant defeating Sarah Martineau 8-6, Santo shutting Miranda Squillance 8-0 and Sarah Cook earning an 8-3 win over Maureen Pflomm.
The ‘Hounds closed it out with the first doubles team of Rotatori-Perez taking an 8-5 decision over Brooke Harris and Mary Zaborawski. Serrano-Burkman defeated Hannah Crotty and Rachel Martineau by an 8-2 margin and Naugy swept the doubles with Iglesias-Wooster teaming up for an 8-0 win over Maddie Cacciato and Mariam Hafez.
Naugatuck will be tested with matches Saturday at Wolcott and Monday at home against St. Paul.
The Woodland girls stayed undefeated with a 7-0 win over Ansonia on Monday, a 4-3 win over Watertown on Wednesday and a 6-1 victory at Seymour Thursday.
The Hawks will host Wilby on Monday and visit Holy Cross on Tuesday.