Naugy knocks out Woodland

NAUGATUCK — The battles between Naugatuck and Woodland across the tennis net have been legendary.

Two years ago, Woodland escaped on a tiebreaker to win the NVL girls title. Last year, the Hawks defeated the Greyhounds in the league semifinals on two tiebreakers.

The teams met Monday for the third straight year in the tournament, and the third time proved to be a charm for Naugatuck. The Greyhounds used a tiebreaker to oust Woodland, 4-3, in the quarterfinals.

“It was your typical Naugy-Woodland battle and this time we got the tiebreaker,” Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra said. “Our No. 2 doubles team was trailing, then came back to tie and then won the tiebreaker. That proved to be the difference in the match.”

Naugatuck moves on to take face No. 1 seed Sacred Heart on Wednesday in the semifinals. The final is Friday at Woodland.

Woodland (11-4) came in as the No. 4 seed and Naugatuck (11-4) was the No. 5 seed, but playing on their home court the Hawks appeared to have the edge.

“Playing on our own court I felt was a big advantage for us,” Woodland head coach Kate Gavigan said. “We are quite familiar with Naugatuck and knew they had some strong singles players.

“But I felt our strength was in our first two singles and lately our doubles, especially our No. 2 doubles Alyssa Varesio and Angelina Padilla, who have been automatic for us all season long.”

Woodland took the lead with Ali Mayne getting past Sarah Cook, 8-4, in a battle of top singles players. Amanda Doughney won a battle of wills against the Greyhounds’ Kelly Carr, 8-6, in the No. 2 singles match.

“We are pretty evenly matched with Woodland, even though we haven’t beaten them in three years,” Sendra said. “Even when we lost to them earlier this season we were not at full strength. But we have been working hard at our shot selection and the angles, especially with our double teams.”

That hard work would prove to pay off after Floraine Evardo defeated Ali Pettas, 8-3, in the No. 3 singles match. Naugatuck’s No. 4 singles player Diana Velasco tied the match at 2-2 with an 8-1 win over Elif Abedin.

In the first doubles match, the Hawks went back on top with Katie Rioux and Paige Gainey pulling out a 9-7 win over Naugatuck’s Ally Mezzo and Kelly Murphy.

If Naugatuck was going to have a chance they needed the No. 2 doubles team to step up.

The Greyhounds No. 2 doubles tandem of Patricia Escaleira and Lori Dietz trailed the Hawks’ Varesio and Padilla. The Naugatuck duo continued to battle and tied the match sending it to a tiebreaker and eventually pulled out a 9-8 (7-2) win.

It came down to the final doubles match. Naugatuck’s Nicole Bolduc and Gina Greco earned the victory for Naugatuck with an 8-4 win over Morgan Stockheimer and Rayhan Luzeri.