NAUGATUCK — After losing a series of close matches earlier in the season, the Greyhounds have found ways to win. The Naugatuck girls tennis team won its fourth match in a row with a 4-3 victory over Woodland on Monday afternoon in the borough.
The ‘Hounds and Hawks split four singles matches, while Naugy took two of three in doubles action.
Woodland bounced back with a much-needed 4-3 win on Tuesday against Wolcott.
Naugy coach Jose Sendra praised his team on Monday for learning how to fight through adversity and limiting its miscues.
“It’s about keeping the ball in play,” said Sendra, whose team improved to 4-5. “It’s simple. Keep the ball in play and not making mistakes.”
In perhaps the turning point of the day, Naugatuck’s Lani Chucta and Megan Wilson held off a comeback from Brooke Dragon and Eileen Hurley. With the match tied at seven, the Greyhounds’ duo took the last two points of the second-seed doubles match.
“That match could have gone either way,” Sendra said. “We happened to be on the lucky side today.”
In the No. 1 doubles match, Naugatuck’s Alexa Ramos and Jessica Buckley squared off against Angela Vallillo and Avery Gartman in another tight match. Ramos and Buckley held on for an 8-6 win.
In the three-seed doubles position, Woodland’s Rachel Mariano and Amanda Oliveira defeated Hannah Kim and Martina Neibrzydowski. The final score was 8-5.
The Hawks had more success in singles. No. 1 seed Megan Wester scored a victory for Woodland with a 9-7 win over Miranda Jang.
Julia Lawton had the third win of the day for the Hawks with a 9-7 victory over Andrea Jimenez in the No. 4 seed competition.
The Greyhounds were able to count on their No. 2 and No. 3 seeds—Kaitlin Carter and Katie Bottinick, respectively. Both won their matches on Monday.
Sendra said Carter and Bottinick have progressed well this season and the results are beginning to show. Carter won her match over Lauren Tremaglio, 8-6, and Bottinick beat Nicole Nelson by an 8-4 margin.
“Carter has shown a nice stroke, and Bottinick has won three matches in a row,” Sendra said.
After losing its first five matches, Naugy has found a rhythm on the court. Naugatuck was set for an early-season payback match on Wednesday against Kennedy—a team Naugy lost to, 4-3, on April 9—before hosting Torrington on Monday.
As the team approaches the midway point of the season, Sendra said he likes what he sees.
“I’m very happy for the team,” Sendra said. “We’re building some momentum, the players are learning and they’re gaining confidence.”
The Hawks, the defending Naugatuck Valley League champs, defeated Wolcott, 4-3, on Tuesday afternoon and earned praise from their coach.
“I was much more pleased with the performance than the victory,” said Woodland coach Mike Magas.
The Hawks received several key comeback wins against the Eagles, who fell to 5-3 as a team.
Wester scored five straight points to overcome a 7-4 deficit to beat Jess McHugh. Lawton trailed, 3-0, but fought back to beat Natalie Pagano, 8-5, on Tuesday.
Magas said Tremaglio “played her best match in two years” in an 8-4 victory over Christina Santos. In doubles, Dragon and Hurley defeated Alaysia Trotman and Cara Nelson.
As the reigning league champs, Magas said his team is adjusting to getting every team’s best effort.
“We’re the defending champs and everyone wants to beat us now,” Magas said.