Naugy builds early momentum, Woodland improving

Naugatuck’s Kelly Carr returns a shot against Kennedy’s Milena Familia during a match April 5 at Naugatuck High School. Naugatuck swept the match. –LUKE MARSHALL

There’s a long season ahead, but with a few matches in the books the Naugatuck girls tennis team is off to a quick start, while Woodland is looking to find its footing.

Naugatuck started the season with a shutout of Kennedy last Thursday. Kelly Carr, Patricia Escalaria, Gina Greco and Kelly Redmond all won single matches by 8-0 margins.

In doubles, the teams of Sabrah Cegeilski and Catarina Rego, Brielle Behuniak and Hailey Russell, and Christina Rego and Adrianna Moreno made it a clean sweep with 8-0 wins.

The Greyhounds were tested on Monday and battled to a 4-3 win over Watertown.

After Escalaria lost a back-and-forth match, 9-7, Naugy (3-0) stormed back to tie the match heading into the doubles. Greco took an 8-2 win at No. 3 singles and Redmond tied the match 2-2 with 8-6 victory.

The duo of Cegeilski and Catarina Rego gave Naugy the lead with an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles. Naugy secured the victory when the No. 2 doubles team of Behuniak and Russell won in convincing fashion, 8-1.

“Watertown is the kind of team that makes you better,” Naugatuck head coach Jose Sendra said. “It could have gone either way. Our number three doubles, this is only their second year ever playing tennis and they may have been nervous facing a team like Watertown.”

“Our number one doubles just don’t know how to give up,” Sendra continued. “They battle hard. The girls are doing well. Our number two singles was in a back-and-forth game, but we showed a lot of determination and grit to pull this out.”

The Greyhounds made it three straight wins to open the season with a 5-2 victory over Holy Cross on Wednesday. The Greyhounds will look to make it four straight when they host Torrington on Friday.

Woodland lost a heartbreaker in the season-opener last Thursday, dropping a 4-3 match to St. Paul. Amanda Doughney (4-8) and Morgan Stockheimer (3-8) battled throughout but came up on the short end in the first two matches.

Kaitlyn Crosby earned an 8-4 win, but St. Paul went into the doubles portion of the match with a commanding 3-1 lead when Rachel Poulos was upended, 8-2.

The duo of Mia Piccolo and Alanna Carasone gave the Hawks a glimmer of hope with a swift 8-3 win in the first doubles match. St. Paul secured the victory with an 8-3 win over the doubles tandem of Morgan Swift and Bayan Galal. Carly Erickson and Ella Parke Parker won the third doubles match, 9-7, for Woodland.

On Monday, the Hawks fell to Sacred Heart, 5-2. Doughney came from behind to earn an 8-4 win in No. 1 singles for the Hawks (0-2). Erickson and Parker went to 2-0 on the season, earning another close win, 8-6.

“With tennis there is always hope for the next match to do better,” Woodland head coach Kate Gavigan said. “Losing the first two matches has been a double punch for us. We have faced two of the top teams in the league and we didn’t really have enough time outside due to the weather. But everyone is in the same position as far as the weather. I’m seeing the girls really improve from day to day, but my doubles teams have had no real prep time.”

Woodland will host Ansonia on Friday and Wolcott on Saturday.