Naugy boys buying in

Naugatuck’s Andres Maldonado returns a shot during a match against Woodland’s Gabe Sousa April 24 at Naugatuck High School. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck entered the final two weeks of the boys tennis regular season without a blemish in Naugatuck Valley League play.

The Greyhounds (8-1, 8-0 NVL) won six straight matches after their early-season loss to Pomperaug, including their second win of the season against a tough Woodland squad.

Naugy took two singles matches and a doubles match for the 3-2 victory against the Hawks on April 24. Brandon Sampaio won a hard-fought match over Austin Roberts, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 11-9.  Andres Maldonado dominated in his match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Jay Mezzo and Jared Montini won their doubles match to earn the team win.

“We changed up our routine for that Woodland match,” head coach Brett Hayward said. “We decided to put Jay and Jared out there first for the doubles, and it worked out.”

It was Naugy’s second 3-2 victory over Woodland this year, the Hawks’ only two losses this season. Hayward said tight matches like the ones against Woodland prepare the team for postseason play.

“We have been fighting hard in our matches all season long,” Hayward said. “These tight matches will only help us for our matches in May.”

Hayward also pointed out how his players have a competitive drive in these matches because they all play another sport.

“Every player on our team plays or has played a different sport,” Hayward said. “Every match is a battle, but we are building off our other sports and I think that is why these guys compete in every match.”

Naugy followed the win against Woodland with a 5-0 victory against Kennedy on April 25.  Chris Cook did not lose a game in his singles win, while Sampaio won his match 6-1, 6-1. Jonathan Vincent picked up the third singles win, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Montini and Mezzo earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory in doubles. Ray Hess and DJ Fine had to battle after losing the first game in their doubles match but responded with 6-0 and 10-4 wins to finish the sweep.

The Greyhounds are set to play five matches — weather-permitting — this week starting with Watertown on Monday, followed by Wolcott, Torrington Crosby and Sacred Heart. Naugatuck has Wolcott and Kennedy next week to close out the regular season before preparing for the NVL tournament.

Hayward said he coaches a great group of players and that is why the team has been successful.

“I think these guys have really bought into what we are doing,” Hayward said. “Everyone knows their role on the team and everyone works hard. Sometimes, they will even stick around after our practices and have extra practice on their own.”