Powanda completes perfect season

Greyhounds win doubles title

Woodland’s Josh Powanda, left, and Torrington’s Kevin Dixon faced off in the NVL singles tournament final May 22 at Wolcott High School. Powanda won to complete a perfect NVL tennis season. -JOE PALLADINO/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WOLCOTT — It was as dominant as any Naugatuck Valley League boys tennis player has been in a long time, and it ended with the formality of a championship.

Woodland’s Josh Powanda completed a perfect NVL tennis season by ripping through the league’s singles tournament, culminating in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Torrington’s Kevin Dixon on May 22 at Wolcott High.

Powanda finished the NVL season undefeated — and he didn’t even drop a set in the process.

“I really had high expectations coming into the season,” Powanda told the Republican-American. “I really wanted to go undefeated and win the NVL. I lost last year, but I wanted to take home the title this year. The NVL is a great league for tennis with a lot of great players, so to come out on top is a great honor.”

Powanda was the runner-up in last year’s singles tournament and was barely challenged throughout the season, earning the Jesse Davis Award as the NVL’s top senior. He earned the No. 8 seed in the Class S singles tournament, which began last week.

In the NVL semifinals, Powanda topped Naugy’s Chris Cook, 6-3, 6-1. In the final, Powanda beat Dixon for the fourth time this season.

“I had to try to mix it up,” Powanda said. “Kevin is a really good player, so I had to mix it up to beat him.”

Dixon made the finals by defeating Woodland’s Dante Polletta, 7-5, 6-2, in the semifinals.

Powanda is the second NVL tennis champion in his family — his father, Matt, won the 1990 title as a player at Holy Cross.

“I felt a little pressure,” Powanda said. “Obviously I felt a little pressure because I was undefeated and I wanted to keep that going into the tournament, but definitely because my dad won this title … I did feel a little bit of pressure because I wanted to make him proud, too.”

Naugatuck’s Jared Montini, left, and Jay Mezzo won the NVL doubles tournament final May 22 at Wolcott High School. -JOE PALLADINO/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

In doubles action, Naugatuck’s Jared Montini and Jay Mezzo converted from mostly being singles players during the regular season to being the top-seeded duo in the doubles tournament.

They grinded out a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 semifinal win over Wolcott’s Alex Fishbein and Tyler Shoban before taking out Torrington’s Brett Stater and Brendan Cisowski, 7-6 (3), 6-1, in the final.

“We had some bumps in the road,” Montini told the Rep-Am. “We dropped our first set in the semifinals, but we fed off each other’s energy and came back to win. We won a tiebreak in the first set (in the finals), and we just cruised.”

Mezzo added, “We definitely work good together. All season we had good communication and good chemistry, and we feed off each other’s success.”

Woodland’s Nick Hudson and Devon Polletta also earned All-NVL honors by reaching the semifinals. They lost, 6-1, 6-2, to Stater and Cisowski.