Seasoned Greyhounds ready to step up
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls tennis team heads into the season needing to fill the void from the graduation of five senior starters. But the Greyhounds and head coach Jose Sendra always seem to find a way to get the job done.
Naugatuck entered last season needing to replace 60 percent of its starters and went on to post a 12-3 mark in the NVL and 13-5 record overall.
“We had to fill a lot of spots last year and still managed to make it to the NVL semifinals losing to Woodland in a double tie-breaker,” said Sendra, who is in his sixth year at the helm. “Not too bad for a rebuilding year. We graduated five seniors and there are even more spots to fill this year but you can never count these girls out.”
The Greyhounds do have a leader in senior captain Sarah Cook, the teams number one singles player, returning. Having Cook back as the team leader certainly doesn’t hurt the morale and the retuning players gained a lot of valuable experience last season.
Seniors Saleena Na and Nicole Bolduc will be relied on to fill some of the top single spots, while juniors Diana Velasco and Lori Dietz will need to fill larger roles this season.
Junior Floraine Evardo came on strong in the postseason last year. She teamed up with Abigail Jang, who transferred following the school year, to reach the NVL doubles championship. They finished as runner-up.
Naugatuck’s number one doubles team of senior Ally Mezzo and junior Kelly Murphy has experience and success under their belt, and sophomore Kelly Carr had a very productive season as a freshman last year.
“It will be a challenging year,” Sendra said. “Liz Perez was our number two singles player and was a three-year competitive player. Abigail Jang was All-NVL. Our number three doubles team of Karla Iglesias and Crystal Wooster were practically guaranteed a win every time out.
“That’s a lot of production to replace. We hope to make the NVL tournament and the states. That is the team goal.”
The Greyhounds will find out where they stand against the rest of the NVL as they open the season against Woodland, last year’s NVL runner-up. Naugatuck is scheduled to host the Hawks on April 4 at 3:30 p.m., followed by matches against Ansonia and St. Paul the first week of the season.