NAUGATUCK — The slow start to the season is a thing of the past for the Naugatuck golf team.
The Greyhounds strung together a four-match winning streak after dropping the first five matches of the year.
The ‘Hounds picked up their first win April 25 in a match against Crosby that was forfeited due to the Bulldogs only being able to field three varsity players.
That didn’t stop the Greyhounds from hitting the course and putting up their best numbers of the season shooting a team-best 184. Jake Alcorace led the way shooting a 39. Ethan Maxwell came in with a 48 and Nick Fox registered a 54. But the surprise of the match belonged to freshman Eli Rachiele, who came in with a solid score of 43.
The Greyhounds faced a few league favorites in Holy Cross, Watertown and Sacred Heart to start the season. The encouraging news is that in four of the losses the Greyhounds were outscored by less than two strokes a hole.
There is room for improvement and the Greyhounds saw that improvement in the latter part of last week picking up two more wins against Wilby and a victory over Kennedy.
“Jake is an excellent leader and keeps the team loose so they are not pressing,” Naugatuck head coach Bob Clark said. “You can see by the look on their face what this four-match winning streak has done for the moral of the team.
“They are playing with a lot more confidence. And now some of the younger kids are stepping up which gives us a great dilemma where we have seven kids for five spots and are adding some depth. We can use that to our advantage depending on the course we are playing.”
Naugatuck saw that depth come into play April 27 in a 191-255 win over Wilby at Hop Brook. Alcorace shot a season-best medalist round of 37 to lead the ‘Hounds to victory. Rachiele hit another solid round of 47 with Maxwell at 49 and Fox with a 55.
The following day the Greyhounds were at Western Hills and Clark changed up the lineup to utilize the team’s strength on the different course.
Alcorace had another medalist round of 40 to lead the team with Rachiele checking in with a 52. Rithuik Rajkumar ended up with a 51 and Kody Butler finished up with a 53 as Naugatuck took a 195-268 win over Wilby and a 195-272 win over Kennedy.
“The strongest part of Jake’s game is his driver,” Clark said. “He keeps the team loose but he’s very serious when it comes to his game. He has come a long way in terms of leadership skills over the past few seasons.”
Naugatuck fell to Wolcott, 190-206, on Monday to snap the streak.
Alcorace led Naugatuck (4-6) with a 47. Colin Sheedy (53), Eachiele (53) and Rajkumar (53) rounded out the scoring for the Greyhounds.
Clark said the Greyhounds will continue to lean on their depth and ride the hot hand.
“Over the next few weeks we are going to go with the hot hand,” he said. “When we get to the league tournament we are going to go with our five best scorers. We have some tough matches coming up but we do have some winnable matches and we could have a real good rest of the season.”
Naugatuck will play in the Woodland Invitational at Oxford Greens on Thursday and visit Torrington on Monday.