NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys tennis team got off to a fast start with wins in its first three matches, including a victory over an always-tough-as-nails Watertown team on Monday.
“Our team is very well balanced,” Naugatuck head coach Anthony Mariano said. “A lot of senior leadership. Going into the season we were returning a lot of guys from last year but also bringing along quite of few new players to the program.
“It doesn’t get any easier from here. We have some tough matches ahead of us. I know no one gave us a shot against Watertown, but we just need to stay within ourselves and treat each opponent like we have the ability to beat them.”
Watertown gained the upper hand after knocking off the Greyhounds’ No. 1 Marco Rebelo and No. 2 Mike Rivera. That’s when the Naugy balance kicked in. P.J. Morrissey, Alec Durante and Matt Triscritti made it look easy winning their singles matches 8-2, 8-1 and 8-0, respectively.
Naugatuck (3-0) went into the doubles portion of the match needing just one win after No. 6 singles player Brandon Sampaio earned an 8-4 victory.
Watertown pulled to within 4-3, but the duo of Morrissey and Triscritti salvaged an 8-5 win to secure the Naugy victory. Durante and Jay Mezzo closed it out with an 8-2 win to account for the 6-3 margin of victory.
“The biggest question mark we had coming into the season was replacing our number one guy,” Mariano said. “We weren’t sure who was going to take on that number one role. And that’s a tough spot to be in, the one or two seed, you are not going to have a good record facing the top players from every team you face.”
Naugy opened the season with a 7-2 win over Kennedy on April 3, and followed that up with a 7-2 victory over Woodland on April 5.
Morrissey, Durante, Triscritti and Sampaio earned singles wins against Woodland. The Greyhounds went on to sweep the doubles portion of the match with the teams of Rivera and Rebelo, Morrissey and Triscritti, and Durante and Sampaio picking up wins.
“I don’t think we are where we want to be just yet, but the progress we’ve made since day one has been tremendous,” Mariano said. The goal is to take those strides to get better each and every day.”
“But what makes this team click is the overall balance throughout the lineup that helps us to be successful as a team,” Mariano added. “One of our strengths is in our doubles matches where we are 7-2 in three matches.”
Naugatuck is scheduled to play Holy Cross on Wednesday and Torrington on Thursday.