NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds have consistently started seasons strong over recent years, and 2019 is following suit.
In five of the past six years, the Greyhounds finished their first six matches with a 4-2 record or better. The Greyhounds are off to a 4-1 start this year.
“So far we have had several players step up with senior captains Brielle Behuniak and Hailey Russell splitting time as setters, middle hitters and blockers in our rotation,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Jordyn Hunt has been the most consistent server and playing our libero, or defensive specialist.”
Naugatuck earned a 3-0 win over Crosby and a 3-1 win vs. Pomperaug during the first week of season. The Greyhounds fell to St. Paul, 3-0, Sept. 17, but bounced back with 3-0 wins over Watertown Sept. 19 and Wolcott Sept. 20.
Hunt leads the team with 57 points. Russell has 53 assists and Behuniak has 44 assists, and each had over ten in the win over Watertown.
While the seniors set the tone, Wesche said the team has gotten contributions from plenty of others, and the team is waiting for a key player to return.
“Sophomore Kaylee Jackson, an outside hitter and returning starter, has improved her hitting,” Wesche said. “We are getting strong contributions by juniors Lindsey Walsh, Alyssa Roberts and sophomore Felicia Salvati. A few pleasantries have come from bench support in sophomores Nadia Cestari, Kendall Allen, Samantha Mullin and Juliana Sarbieski. When we are back at full strength with the return of opposite hitter Cara Bergin, we will hopefully be even more competitive.”
Jackson leads the team with 38 kills. Roberts recorded four aces in Naugy’s season-opening victory over Crosby. Cestari recorded the second most points in the win over Watertown, including three aces.
In the loss to St. Paul, one of the premier teams in the Naugatuck Valley League, Wesche said the Falcons made it difficult to establish any rhythm and go on the offensive.
“Teams like St. Paul, Seymour and Woodland always seem to have a relentless front row attack with big hitters and blocks along with a supporting cast to get them the ball where they can do some damage putting constant pressure on the defense,” Wesche said. “This doesn’t allow your offense to get into a rhythm and keeps you out of system, minimizing scoring opportunities.”
Behuniak led the way with nine kills and 12 assists against St. Paul. Russell and Jackson combined for 13 kills.
While it was a frustrating loss, Wesche said the team’s motivated and looking to get better from it.
“Coming off the St. Paul loss only motivated the team to work harder in practice and look to the future,” Wesche said. “The loss was an opportunity to learn, improve and move on focusing on our next opponent, making the most of our time to better the ball and work one serve, one pass, one attack at a time.”
Naugatuck will visit Holy Cross on Tuesday and host Torrington on Friday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Sept. 26 edition of the Citizen’s News to include stats from the Sept. 20 Wolcott match.