WOLCOTT — For the second consecutive season, Naugatuck boasted one of the top two singles players in Naugatuck Valley League boys tennis.
Naugy’s Mike Popescu reached the NVL singles final last week at Wolcott High, where he lost to champion Alex Gauthier of Wolcott, 6-0, 6-3.
Popescu made a run to the final with three victories. He knocked off Crosby’s Kristi Mitre 8-1 before bouncing Woodland’s Pat Mulholland, 6-1, 6-0, in the quarterfinals. Popescu also gained a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kennedy’s Klaudio Luarisi in the semifinals.
Naugy’s Yun Chao Chen also made a good showing in the singles bracket by reaching the quarterfinals. He defeated Crosby’s Norbert Jakova 8-2 before bowing out to Gauthier in a 6-1, 6-2 quarterfinal match.
On the doubles side, Naugatuck’s Jeff Hensley and Jake Morrissey won a pair of matches to reach the semifinals. They started off with an 8-1 win over Holy Cross’ Joe Steele and Lloyd Cao before knocking off Wolcott’s Jay Caggiano and Matt Spina in a marathon match that ended 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4.
Hensley and Morrissey ended their run in the semis against Crosby’s Thaddaeus Vaichus and Matt Dahdah in another long match that went an identical 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4.
Tyler Posser and Yun Yue Chen reached the NVL doubles quarters after defeating Holy Cross’ Matt Mazzatto and Chris Frappier in the first round. They fell to Wolcott’s Nick Mastropietro and Cole Nelson, 6-4, 5-7, 6-0, in the quarterfinals.
Popescu, Hensley and Morrissey all earned All-NVL honors for their tournament performances.
Popescu was also the only Greyhound to earn a victory in the Class L state tournament. He defeated Hall’s Eddie Huang 6-0, 6-4, in the Class L first round before being shut out by No. 12 seed Tim Derby of Darien in the second round.
Jake Gingold, Nick Hernandez and Yun Chao Chen also qualified for singles play, while the squads of Tyler Posser-Yun Yue Chen and Hensley-Morrissey competed on the doubles side.
Woodland threesome makes tourney run: Three Woodland boys reached the NVL quarterfinals in singles and doubles play last week.
Pat Mulholland made the Hawks’ deepest singles run, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Naugatuck’s Mike Popescu, 6-1, 6-0. Mulholland defeated Wolcott’s Matt Mastropietro 8-4 in the first round.
James Nelson also gained an 8-1 preliminary victory over Wilby’s Adrian Maldonada before falling to Wolcott’s Alex Gauthier in the first round.
On the doubles side, Mike Roulanaitis and Jack Walsh teamed up to defeat Torrington’s Ethan Barbiere and Nick Mancini 8-6 in the first round. The Hawks suffered a three-set defeat in the quarters, falling to Crosby’s Belman Soto and Inri Panajoti 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Roulanaitis and Walsh also reached the third round of the Class S doubles tournament, earning a default victory in the first round before beating Windham’s Matthew Burdick and Noah Sternat in the second round. Second-seeded Henry Morris and Greg Portner of Weston dispatched the Hawks 6-1, 6-1 in the third round.