Greyhounds gelling

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Naugatuck's Jenna Massicotte dives for the ball against Holy Cross Oct. 8 in Waterbury. The Greyhounds won, 3-0. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Naugatuck’s Jenna Massicotte dives for the ball against Holy Cross Oct. 8 in Waterbury. The Greyhounds won, 3-0. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds took three opponents to task last week.

Naugatuck slammed the door shut on Watertown, Terryville and Holy Cross last week all by equal 3-0 scores.

Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche attributed the Greyhounds’ play to the leadership of his seniors.

“All of our seven seniors have been doing a phenomenal job,” Wesche said. “They all lead by example. They have a lot of heart and they have a lot of hustle. And they are the reason we have been so successful this year.”

Naugatuck made quick work of Watertown Oct. 6, winning by margins of 25-12, 25-14 and 26-24. Olivia Rotatori led the way with 13 service points and five aces. Alexa Blazas steered the offense with 13 assists and Taylor Hyde made her presence felt in the front row with six kills.

The Greyhounds stifled Terryville Oct. 7 for the second time this season, earning the victory by scores of 25-14, 25-16 and 25-11. Blazas (13 points) and Ally Mezzo (11 points) led the way with Rotatori serving notice at the net with 12 kills.

Naugatuck made it look easy in game one against Holy Cross Oct. 8, running away with a 25-12 win as Nicole Healy (10 service points) served out the game-winner.

The Crusaders fought back in game two and turned a 9-7 deficit into a brief 11-10 lead. Hyde (six kills, two blocks) was a force in the front row and Jenna Massicotte (11 digs) was the Greyhounds’ assurance in the back row as Holy Cross was quickly subdued.

Mezzo (10 kills, nine points) rattled off a six-point service run to put Naugatuck back in the driver’s seat with a 17-11 advantage. Emma Healy brought up a couple of kill attempts and outside hitter Kathryn Healy (five points, four kills) found the open floor to complete the 25-20 win.

The Greyhounds found the going a little together in game three with the match on the line. Naugatuck held the lead briefly three times by a single point and the game was tied seven times, but for the most part Holy Cross managed to stay out in front.

“Holy Cross is a very good team,” Wesche said. “They are very scrappy and know how to keep balls alive. We had trouble getting to a few shots that they put down. Playing games like this will certainly help us down the stretch with return matches against Torrington and Woodland.”

Alyssa Barry, Kelly Murphy and Abigail Oladapo came on in game three to help Naugatuck gut out a back-and-forth contest that could have gone either way.

With Holy Cross out in front 22-19 Blazas bumped up a return that Kathryn Healy pounded to the floor for a side out kill.

Naugatuck head volleyball coach Kevin Wesche talks with his players against Holy Cross Oct. 8 in Waterbury. The Greyhounds won, 3-0. –KEN MORSE
Naugatuck head volleyball coach Kevin Wesche talks with his players against Holy Cross Oct. 8 in Waterbury. The Greyhounds won, 3-0. –KEN MORSE

Healy then took up the serve and Mezzo emerged to kick the door shut on the Crusaders. After a double-hit call against Holy Cross, Emma Healy fed Mezzo a pass at the net and the senior hitter blasted one to the floor to tie the game at 22-22.

The Crusaders called a timeout to regroup but Mezzo was at it again finding the open floor to put Naugy on top. On the next serve Mezzo charged the net and fired game point past the Crusaders front row. Healy set up Mezzo again on a cross court kill for the game-winner in a 25-22 final margin.

“This team has the hustle, the talent and the drive,” said Mezzo, who scored the final four points of game three. “What needed to happen was we needed to come together as a team and we are starting to get there.”

Blazas assisted on two of the final crucial points.

“When we get down to this point in a game we really focus on the fundamentals,” Blazas said. “Ally is always pushing harder and harder and she has become a real force for us at the net. It’s definitely not about me or Ally, it’s all about the team, and that’s why we are a success.”

The Greyhounds stumbled Tuesday in a 3-0 loss to Torrington. Naugatuck’s (9-5) only losses this season have come at the hands of unbeaten Woodland and Seymour, and a two-loss Red Raiders squad.

Naugatuck is scheduled to get back on the court Thursday against St. Paul. The Greyhounds will take on Kennedy on Friday before a rematch versus Holy Cross at home Oct. 20.