NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck and Woodland girls tennis teams entered Tuesday’s match riding hot hands, with one loss each and looking to separate themselves from a bit of a logjam at the top of the NVL.
Naugatuck won 7-0 matches against Wilby last Thursday and Crosby the following day, while Woodland defeated Crosby, 7-0, last Thursday and Holy Cross last Friday by a 5-2 margin.
“Records tell you about how the opponent has done so far,” Naugatuck’s No. 3 singles player Kelly Murphy said. “But yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. You still need to go out there and perform to the best of your ability, and Woodland presents a tough challenge for us every time we meet up with them.”
The neighboring rivals, who have met in the NVL semifinals and final over the past few years, battled for four hours on Tuesday before Naugatuck earned what appeared to be an easy 6-1 win.
Appearances, however, can be deceiving, as the scores of the match reveal.
Ally Mayne gave Woodland (9-2) its only win shutting out Kelly Carr, 8-0, in the No. 1 singles match match that was tighter than the final outcome indicates.
Floraine Evardo outlasted Woodland’s Amanda Doughney 8-8 (7-3) in a tiebreaker during the No. 2 singles match to even the score for Naugatuck (8-1). Murphy provided a little breathing room for the Greyhounds earning an 8-3 victory over Ariana Sherwood in No. 3 singles.
“A match like this is a good gauge as to where we are and where we need to be,” Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra said. “Winning several matches last week 7-0 doesn’t tell me anything about my team. We needed a challenge and Woodland certainly presents that.”
Woodland needed to settle the score heading into the doubles portion of the match and it came down to another white knuckle affair as the Greyhounds’ Diana Velasco got by Morgan Stockheimer 8-8 (7-4) in another tiebreaker.
“Jose (Sendra) always has his girls ready to compete and this is our chance to push back and say we have equal talent and let’s compete,” said Woodland head coach Kate Gavigan as she watched the match unfold courtside.
“We have had some injuries, but come tournament time we are going to be ready to bring the best we have,” Gavigan added. “The girls are excited to compete and a match like this brings out the best in both teams.”
With Naugatuck holding a 3-1 edge after the singles portion of the match Woodland needed to take all three doubles matches.
Lori Dietz and Patricia Escaleira set the tone to ensure a Naugatuck victory by taking an 8-2 decision over the Hawks’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Angelina Padilla and Alyssa Varesio.
The No. 2 doubles team of Sabrah Cegielski and Kelly Redmond handed Woodland’s Mia Piccolo and Alanna Carasone their first loss of the season by a slim 8-5 margin.
Naugatuck closed out the match with Justes Cureton and Gina Greco getting by the Hawks’ Rachel Poulos and Kaitlyn Crosby in an 8-4 decision.
Naugatuck is scheduled to play Sacred Heart on Thursday and host Wolcott on Monday.
Woodland is scheduled to play St. Paul on Thursday and be at Seymour on Friday.