NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys tennis team is not only learning how to win, the Greyhounds are finding out firsthand how to grind out a victory.
This was evident last Friday as Naugatuck knocked off Holy Cross by a 5-4 margin.
“We are definitely headed in the right direction,” first-year head coach Anthony Mariano said. “We lost a tough tiebreaker to Watertown the other day. But it just goes to show how this team has matured since the start of the season to shake it off and come back to beat Holy Cross the next match.”
The Greyhounds are quickly becoming recognized in the NVL as a team to be reckoned with as Watertown found out April 27. The Indians broke out to a 3-0 lead in singles play only to find themselves tied going into the doubles portion of the match.
Jared Montini earned a hard-fought 9-8 (7-3) decision in the No. 4 singles spot. Matt Triscritti battled to a 9-7 win and Jacob Torres tied the match with an 8-5 win at the No. 6 singles.
Watertown won the match taking a 9-8 (7-5) victory away from Marco Rebelo and Montini in the No. 2 doubles set. Michael Rivera and Alec Durante won the final doubles match by an 8-4 margin.
“We have really grown as a team since the start of the season,” Mariano said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way but we are showing the mental toughness to stick with it and it showed in the win over Holy Cross.”
The Crusaders, who defeated Naugatuck earlier in the season, took the early lead last Friday. But the Greyhounds didn’t fold, instead they showed their resiliency with P.J. Morrissey and Trscritti grinding out 10-9 (7-5) wins.
That set the tone for the upset as Montini tied the match at 3-3 with an 8-2 victory heading into the doubles potion of the contest.
Jonas Mauermann and Rebelo battled to a 9-7 win, and the tandem of Montini and Morrissey closed the deal with an 8-1 decision.
“We have used several of the younger players and that has helped us to gain some experience and some depth,” Mariano said. “The key is to stay ready, so when your number is called you won’t need to get ready because you already are.”
Mariano isn’t surprised his team is playing with a whole lot of confidence, an attribute he knows breeds success.
“When you play with that kind of expectancy success soon follows,” he said. “But we have some tough matches coming up, but the difference is we feel we can compete.”
Naugatuck fell, 9-0, to undefeated Wolcott on Wednesday. The Greyhounds bounced back with a 5-4 win over Sacred Heart on Thursday to improve to 6-5.
The Greyhounds will host Torrington on Friday and Woodland on Monday.