NAUGATUCK — The early surprise of the spring season has been the fast start of the Naugatuck boys tennis team.
Armed with only two seniors and four juniors, the Greyhounds picked up two wins in their first two matches before running into a powerful Wolcott team on Tuesday.
The Greyhounds were stalled by the Eagles in a 9-0 loss. To put things in the proper perspective Naugatuck wasn’t supposed to be in the hunt while the Eagles return a team that went 16-0 last season.
“We were thoroughly outmatched,” Naugatuck head coach Anthony Mariano said. “They have a lot of experienced but I’m proud of my guys, we hung in there.”
Naugatuck is quickly developing a solid core of singles players. No. 2 junior Marco Rebelo, No. 3 freshman Mike Rivera, No. 5 junior P.J. Morrissey and No. 6 freshman Jared Montini each won their first two matches.
That kind of success led Naugy to a pair of 6-3 wins over Kennedy and Woodland last week to open the season.
“Even though we are a young team we do have some solid leadership,” Mariano said. “They are helping the younger players get acclimated and we have two freshman in our singles lineup.”
Juniors Matt Triscritti and Jonas Mauermann both had a 1-1 mark on the season heading into the Wolcott match.
The play of the singles players has afforded Mariano the flexibility to try different combinations in doubles while giving some of the younger players experience to build the team’s overall depth.
In the win over Kennedy Naugatuck used double teams of sophomore Alec Durante and senior Jacob Torres at number one, sophomore Dylan Triscritti and freshman Zak Robushi at number two, and freshman Yeshe Rakagme and Jonathon Vincent at number three.
Against Woodland, the Greyhounds went with a little more experience with Mauermann and Montini at number one, Rebelo and Morrissey at number two, and Triscritti and Rivera at number three.
“It’s all about building their confidence through repetition,” Mariano said. “Now they need to learn to have a short-term memory as far as shaking off a loss. Especially like the one we had [against Wolcott].”
“Today was a reality check and now we need to go back out there and bounce back,” Mariano continued. “We have the players to do it. We’ve shown that through the first two matches. It’s all about keep your confidence.”
The Greyhounds bounced back with a convincing 8-1 win over Crosby on Wednesday. Naugatuck (3-1) swept the singles matches with Mauermann, Rebelo, Rivera, Morrissey, Triscitti and Montini picking up wins. The doubles teams of Alec Durante and Brandon Sampaio, and Jon Vincent and Jacob Torres picked up wins, as well.
The Greyhounds will be back on the court Monday at Holy Cross.