Greyhounds gaining confidence

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck High volleyball team has enjoyed the bus ride home from Torrington just three times in the last 10 years. One of those rides came last week.

The Greyhounds pulled off the upset of the season in Torrington by sweeping the previously unbeaten Raiders, 3-0 (25-13, 27-25 and 25-19), on their home court.

“The last time we played them every game was decided by a couple of points so it really could have gone either way,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Tonight we just came out and played with that confidence right from the start and didn’t allow Torrington to settle into their game.”

Naugatuck (9-4) has only been on the winning side in six of the last 20 meetings against Torrington (11-1) but came out determined last week.

“Some of these younger kids have been stepping up,” Wesche said. “Jordyn Hunt can get her serves in. Hailey Russell has been setting the ball for her teammates to make returns. Brielle Behuniak has filled in and done a good job.

“It’s really been complimenting the play of our seniors and their ability to motivate the younger kids to get better and as they get better so does the team. We just needed some confidence in our ability to play against a team like Torrington.”

The Greyhounds won game one handily led by Cailee Bergin (8 kills, 13 assists, 9 digs) and Jayla Piazza (16 digs, 14 points, 6 aces).

Brielle Behuniak (6 points, 15 assists, 5 kills) set the tone in the middle of the floor as a back-and-forth battle took hold in game two.

Aryana Powell (5 kills) and Jordyn Hunt (7 points) provided timely production, and Hailey Deitelbaum (12 kills) gave the team a boost as Naugatuck escaped with a 27-25 win in game two.

“We came out and just got our serves going,” said Taylor Hunt (6 points, 5 digs). “I think the biggest thing was we were communicating out there and we were picking each other up and not letting the silly mistakes bother us. We worked hard getting ready for this match and we wanted to prove not only to ourselves but to everyone else that we had the talent to compete with a team like Torrington.”

Torrington stormed out to a 10-5 lead in game three, but Naugy battled back to tie the game at 11-11 before pulling away for a 25-19 win and the sweep.

“We don’t have the height that other teams have at the net,” Bergin said. “But we have a lot of talented players and they are beginning to understand about hitting their spots and knowing what they can do at the net to be successful. Our younger players have really been stepping up, and I feel we are playing our best volleyball as the second half of the season starts.”

Naugatuck continued to play at its best in a 3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-13) win over Crosby (3-10) on Tuesday.

Behuniak led the way against the Bulldogs with 21 points and eight aces. Bergin added five kills, and Powell had six points. Piazza had four points to go along with seven digs.

The Greyhounds now head down the homestretch of the season with a confidence they didn’t have to start the year.

“We are starting to not play as timid,” Piazza said. “At the beginning of the year we didn’t play with a lot of confidence in our own ability. Now we are going after the balls that we shied away from before.

“We definitely have the talent and the ability to be better than the 6-4 record we had in the first half. It wouldn’t surprise me to see us go 8-2 or even 10-0 in the second half. We are a very good team, we just need to bring that confidence every time we step out on the court.”

Naugatuck will play Wilby on Thursday and visit Oxford on Friday.