BY KEN MORSE
The goal going into the season for the Woodland girls tennis team was to be one of the final four teams left to battle it out for the NVL championship. The Hawks stood at 7-3 with a little over a week to go in the regular season.
Holy Cross, St. Paul, Watertown and Wolcott will all have their say, along with Woodland, as to how the rankings will look heading into the quarterfinal matchups on May 16.
Naugatuck is in the middle of a rebuilding year, but still has its sights set on a middle of the pack ranking. The Greyhounds (4-7) feel there are still a few more wins left on the schedule to move up in the rankings.
“We need to win out to give us our best chance at a high seeding,” said Woodland coach Jessica DeGennaro. “We have St. Paul, Ansonia, Seymour and Kennedy. Winning out should bring us the third or fourth seed.
“Wolcott and Watertown face off and the winner of that will likely be the No. 1 seed. Holy Cross is in the mix for No. 2 and we are right there for third or fourth.”
Woodland defeated Holy Cross to start the season, but the Crusaders exacted revenge, 6-1, on April 28 in Beacon Falls. Audrey Fencil (No. 1) and Vivien Mogyoros (No. 2) dropped 8-0 decisions. At No. 3 singles Laura DeGennaro didn’t go down without a fight, coming up short by an 8-6 margin.
No. 4 singles Sarah Shitia won by an 8-3 final. One of the strengths of the Hawks this season has been the doubles teams, but Holy Cross had the upper hand defeating the No. 2 doubles combination of Ava Naclerio and Abby Raffone, along with the No. 3 doubles tandem of Cate Fazzone and Cori Patchkofsky.
The No. 1 doubles team of Bella Mastropietro and Rylie Montini battled the Crusaders, but came up on the short end of an 8-5 score.
“The league overall is a lot stronger than it has been,” added DeGennaro. “You are being challenged every match and in the long run that is good as it will have you ready come tournament time.”
Naugy had won two of its last three and was starting to put some momentum together heading down the stretch of the season. The Greyhounds upended Crosby, 7-0, on April 28 with Camryn Smith (No. 1 singles) and Josephine Burke (No. 2) winning handily by 8-0 outcomes.
Cassie Cozzi (No. 3) and Amy Morrissey (No. 4) won by forfeits. In doubles, the No. 2 team of Kaitlyn Swindon and Bryanna Jones and the No. 3 doubles duo of Eliviah Shroeder and Julianna Dwyer won by forfeit. The No. 1 pair of Ava and Sophia DeFilippo won by an 8-0 margin.
Naugy fell to Watertown, 7-0, on May 1. Smith (8-4) and Morrissey 8-2) dropped singles matches with Watertown winning the final two singles over Cozzi and Burke. In doubles the DeFilippo duo lost, 8-2, with the teams of Swindon-Jones and Shroeder-Dwyer each fell short by 8-6 margins.
“We are making progress in a season of rebuilding,” said Jose Sendra. “I think we can put together a couple of more wins down the stretch and hopefully pull into one of the No. 5 or No. 6 spots and avoid playing No.1 or No. 2 in the quarterfinals.
“I like the effort of our doubles teams, especially the way they battled against Watertown. I think that can be a strength for us going into the tournament. We will continue to work hard and get the most out of the final two weeks of the season to prepare for the tournament.”
Naugy got past Kennedy, 4-3, on May 3. Smith won at No. 1 singles, 8-6. Burke (8-3), Cozzi (8-6) and Morrissey (8-3) fell short in singles play. Naugy swept doubles to win the match with the DeFilippos, Swindon-Jones and Ella Celozzi and Juliana Felix all winning by 8-0 margins.