Experience doesn’t always add up to victories, but if Naugy head coach Tony Loomis has any say about it then Naugatuck will be one of the teams to beat come the postseason.
Loomis, entering his third year at the helm with a 30-6 ledger, was named the 2014 National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and is looking for the Greyhounds to be at the top of the league this season.
“Being named the National High School PE Teacher of the Year is truly a life-changing and humbling experience,” Loomis admitted. “I’m so grateful for the support of the town and Naugatuck High School.”
Naugatuck will be without the graduated Julian Milek, the German exchange student who last year reached the NVL singles finals and the second round of the Class L state tournament.
There are plenty of players back, though, and the experience has Loomis ready to go.
“I’m really excited about the season,” Loomis said. “We have a large group of seniors who gained a lot of experience last year. But it will all come down to how much time they put into the game over the summer and how hard they want to work in practice.”
Senior co-captain Jake Morrissey and junior co-captain Mike Popescu will lead the Greyhounds as they look to take it up a notch this season. Senior Nick Hernandez is a welcome addition after spending last season in Chile as an exchange student.
“Nick has really developed his game,” Loomis said. “His year away as an exchange student helped his game. He has nice form and sets himself up well.”
Loomis held an intra-team tournament to decide the rotation and Popescu earned the No. 1 singles position. Senior Yun Chao Chen will be at No. 2 singles while Morrissey earned the No. 3 singles spot. Junior Jake Gingold earned the No. 4 singles slot with seniors Jeff Hensley and Yun Yue Chen rounding out the lineup.
Hernandez and senior Tyler Posser will be teamed up as the top doubles tandem.
Senior Nate Lindsay is coming back from a broken wrist and will be out of his cast in the next few weeks. Senior Julius Schoebel is new to the game of tennis but has gained the coach’s praise for his hard-work attitude.
“Julius is new to the sport,” Loomis said. “But he has worked hard and I have seen incredible growth in his game.”
Another newcomer is junior Greg Marquardt, who is learning the game and making steady progress. Sophomores Marco Mendes and Jacob Torres are two of the younger players who are gaining confidence along the way.
Naugatuck will look to freshmen Matt Triscritti, Marco Rebelo, Peter Morrissey and James Clark to continue the Greyhounds’ winning tradition.
“We have a lot of younger kids and I want them to be great players,” Loomis said. “They will learn the work ethic from the older players and I want them to catch the fever. If they work hard they will definitely see time on the court.”
The ‘Hounds open the season on Wednesday at Crosby. They will square off in a big rivalry match at home against Woodland at 10 a.m. Saturday.