NAUGATUCK — After posting 16 wins and reaching the second round of the state tournament for two straight years, the Naugatuck volleyball team is looking to remain among the top teams in the Naugatuck Valley League heading into a new season.
To do so, the Greyhounds will have to rely on some new faces in the starting lineup. Naugy graduated the entire starting lineup from last season and returns just two seniors.
Senior captains Shannon Burns and Hailey Deitelbaum along with junior captain Brielle Behuniak will lead the way this season
“We did lose a lot of seniors, but I’m confident we can compete with the top teams in the NVL,” Deitelbaum said. “I think as the season goes along we will become stronger as a unit and will make a run for the postseason.”
Juniors Jordyn Hunt and Hailey Russell and sophomore Alyssa Roberts are some of the younger players who came on and gained experience last season. Roberts is out for six to eight weeks but could make it back for tournament time.
“We have a strong junior class, and I think they will make a big contribution this season,” Burns said.
“A lot of the younger girls are very athletic,” Behuniak added. “Mixing more experienced players with younger girls, communication out on the court is vital to success, and I think we do a good job at that.”
The Greyhounds may not be an experienced bunch, but they are an energetic one, according to head coach Kevin Wesche, who likes the enthusiasm he sees from his team.
“We are a very young group this year, but they have that excitement and enthusiasm that amounts to having the will to win,” Wesche said. “The first part of the year we will make our share of young mistakes, but I think by the second half of the season you will see a team that is coming together.”
The Greyhounds get the season underway on Friday at home hosting Crosby. Naugatuck will host St. Paul on Sept. 11 and visit Watertown two days later.