BEACON FALLS — As the boys tennis season heads down the homestretch, the Greyhounds are a team jostling for position at the top of the NVL. Woodland, on the other hand, is a squad working to revamp its entire lineup after losing most of its starters from a year ago.
That didn’t matter when the teams met Tuesday in Beacon Falls.
“We have been able to get some of the younger kids some varsity time playing against some of the less-experienced teams,” said Naugatuck head coach Anthony Mariano as he watched the match. “I think it will help our team develop a little more depth. But we are not taking any chances against Woodland. In spite of their record, they are a very good team and play you tough in every match.”
Naugatuck earned a 5-4 win over the pesky Hawks. The first time these teams met in early April Naugatuck won 7-2, but several of the matches went down to the wire.
Woodland’s Josh Powanda defeated the Greyhounds’ Marco Rebelo, 8-0, in the No. 1 singles match after the Naugy senior had to shake off the effects of turning his ankle early on in the contest.
The Greyhounds’ No. 2 P.J. Morrissey evened things up with an 8-0 win over Nick Hudson.
Naugatuck’s Alec Durante beat Richie Weishner, 8-3, and Matt Triscritti went toe to toe with Woodland’s Dante Polletta before winning 8-6.
The two hard-fought Naugatuck victories gave the Greyhounds a 3-1 advantage. Naugatuck increased the lead to 5-1 to seal the match as Jay Mezzo got by Jeff Varesio, 8-0, and Brandon Sampaio bested Gabe Sousa, 8-1.
“We are young there is no doubt about that starting five freshman and a sophomore,” Woodland head coach Charles Ostrander said. “After that is a junior and four more sophomores. So we have a lot of work to do but one thing you can’t teach is work ethic.
“Josh is 7-4, having a good season, and Nick is also having a solid season going from our number six to number two this year. What is nice about this group of kids is they really like being here and want to practice and get better.”
“We are also a very small team,” Ostrander added. “Outside of Josh and Nick the average height is about 5 foot, 3 (inches). Richie and Dante are probably the smallest kids on the team but they are the most ferocious. They are both monsters at the net.”
The Hawks closed the gap in the doubles portion of the match with the team of Powanda and Polletta earning an 8-2 win over Durante and Zak Robushi.
The No. 2 doubles team of Hudson and Weishner got by Nattanit Chalermwisutkul and Dylan Triscritti, 8-1. The Hawks’ No. 3 doubles team of Varesio and Sousa outlasted Nelson Lavoura and Sergio Rodriguez by an 8-3 score.
“We are not looking too far ahead,” Mariano said. “Just keeping focused on the match at hand. We try and stay away from looking at records and rankings. We are really coming together as a team and we have good leadership. We are almost where we need to be and just focusing on getting better each day.”
Naugatuck beat Kennedy, 7-2, Wednesday to improve to 9-2 on the year. Naugatuck will host Sacred Heart on Thursday. The Greyhounds will close out the regular season next week with matches against Wolcott on May 8, Watertown on May 9 and Torrington on May 10.
Woodland fall to Torrington, 9-0, on Wednesday, and dropped to 5-8 on the season. The Hawks will close out the regular season next week against Kennedy on May 8 and Watertown on May 10.