Greyhounds go down fighting

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck volleyball coach Kevin Wesche was nothing but pleased with the way his No. 13 Greyhounds battled against No. 4 Joel Barlow in the second round of the Class L tournament.

“We were very aggressive getting to balls and digging them up,” Wesche said. “We were making good passes, good sets and getting attacks at the net.”

However, Naugy’s effort wasn’t enough as the Greyhounds fell, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-21), to the Falcons Nov. 12. It was the second consecutive year that the ‘Hounds were eliminated in the second round of the tournament.

The Greyhounds never quit, even when the chance of a comeback became less and less likely.

After losing two very tough games to begin the match, Naugy fell behind 20-12 in the third game. The Greyhounds fought back to cut the lead to three points.

“We kept our composure and confidence up never deviating from the game plan, playing aggressive, tracking down every ball and having strong play at the net,” Wesche said. “I am extremely proud how they fought for every point, never wavering or backing down.”

While Naugy was able to cut Barlow’s lead to 24-21, it was too late by then as the Falcons closed out the match with the next point.

The Greyhounds were led by Olivia Rotatori, who had 10 points, two aces, three blocks and two kills. Kathryn Healy had six points and five kills, while Nicole Healy added five points and four kills. Alexa Blazas dished out 11 assists.

Wesche said his team couldn’t have played much better.

“We got beat playing our best by a team that was better than us,” he said.

So where does this leave the Greyhounds for next season?

Naugy won at least 14 games in the regular season for the third consecutive year. Wesche’s squad will say goodbye to seven seniors: Blazas, Ally Mezzo, Jenna Massicotte, Nicole Healy, Kathryn Healy, Alyssa Barry and Samantha Morin.

Wesche said the leadership of the seniors was crucial in the team’s success this season.

“The seniors received the majority of the playing time and it was earned,” Wesche said. “Their leadership and competitive play set the table for the underclassmen to follow if they want to succeed.”

Wesche said the seniors left a lasting impact on the returning players, which is a good sign for next season.

“Though their graduation will leave some huge holes to be filled, I feel they helped prepare their protégés to step on the court and continue the winning tradition,” Wesche said. “Next year looks to be another promising year with the dedicated and committed young ladies expected to return.”

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