Woodland girls look to contend in NVL

Woodland seniors, from left, Rachel Poulos, Mia Piccolo, Julia Bodnar, Cassandra Quayson and Alanna Carasone, along with Kaitlyn Crosby (missing from photo), will lead the girls tennis team this season. –KYLE BRENNAN

BEACON FALLS — After four years away from the sport, Woodland girls tennis coach Jess DeGennaro doesn’t know everything about the Naugatuck Valley League landscape for this upcoming season. But she’s already got a good idea of her Hawks’ potential this spring.

“Just looking at my girls during tryouts, we have a lot of talent, experience and depth,” DeGennaro said. “To win an NVL championship, you need to be strong from top to bottom. I think we have that potential this year with the returners.”

Woodland reached the league semifinals as a team last year and brings back plenty of talent from that squad, which leads DeGennaro, who last coached the Hawks in 2014, to believe that the squad will “be strong contenders for the NVL crown.”

Seniors Kaitlyn Crosby and Rachel Poulos are slotted to return as the top singles players, with junior Morgan Swift and sophomore Ella Parker in line to fill the other two singles spots. Woodland’s top doubles team of Alanna Carasone and Mia Piccolo, who finished as the NVL runner-up last season, is back to lead the doubles lineup.

“Now it’s just a matter of picking (Nos.) 2 and 3 doubles out of a good pool,” DeGennaro said. “I think we’re going to be strong throughout the lineup.”

Continuing to develop the team’s depth all the way through the last doubles group is an important goal for DeGennaro and the Hawks.

“I always tell them I don’t worry about individual records; I worry about the team record,” she said. “No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles are just as important as Nos. 1 and 2. We want to practice to make everyone better from top to bottom.”

Woodland is scheduled to open the season next Monday at Wolcott and Wednesday at Sacred Heart.