Hawks make another run to final

0
93
Woodland’s Erica Boccuzzi returns a shot as her doubles partner Paige Gainey looks on during their match against Naugatuck’s Abigail Jang and Floraine Evardo in the NVL girls tennis tournament semifinals May 20 in Beacon Falls. Woodland beat Naugatuck and advanced to the final where they fell, 5-2, to Watertown. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Erica Boccuzzi returns a shot as her doubles partner Paige Gainey looks on during their match against Naugatuck’s Abigail Jang and Floraine Evardo in the NVL girls tennis tournament semifinals May 20 in Beacon Falls. Woodland beat Naugatuck and advanced to the final where they fell, 5-2, to Watertown. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Even the most optimistic Hawks fan would have been hard-pressed to predict that on the last day of NVL girls team tennis tournament the Black and Gold would be there, defending their title.

With all that was lost to graduation and a new coach taking over the reins, the odds were not in Woodland’s favor this season. Yet, on May 23, the No. 2-seeded Hawks were on their home courts playing for an NVL title for the third straight year.

It wasn’t the happiest of endings as No. 4 Watertown defeated Woodland, 5-2, to claim its third NVL title in the last four years. The only glitch on Watertown’s screen was when Woodland took the crown during last year’s 16-2 magical season.

There was little magic on Saturday. Watertown defeated Woodland for the second time in 10 days, having won a tight 4-3 match to end the regular season.

“The girls were ready for this but Watertown is a very good team,” Woodland first year head coach Kate Gavigan said. “We had a lot of confidence coming in here, led by our No. 1 Ally Mayne who finished the season undefeated. We had another young player in freshman Amanda Doughney and she has worked real hard to develop into the player she’s become.”

Mayne earned a tough 8-5 victory over Ava Kaveraud to continue her undefeated streak.

Woodland's Ally Mayne returns a shot during her match against Watertown's Ava Kaveraud in the NVL finals May 23 in Beacon Falls. Mayne won her match to remain perfect on the season. Watertown beat Woodland, 5-2, to win the title. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Woodland’s Ally Mayne returns a shot during her match against Watertown’s Ava Kaveraud in the NVL finals May 23 in Beacon Falls. Mayne won her match to remain perfect on the season. Watertown beat Woodland, 5-2, to win the title. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

“It was a little stressful coming in undefeated but as a team we just had to stay focused and do our best,” Mayne said. “I still think we had an awesome season even though we didn’t come out with a win.”

The only other Woodland victory on the day was in the No. 3 doubles match. Angelina Padilla and Alex Pettas teamed up to defeat Christina Barkow and Alyssa Clifford, 8-2.

“I really thought we were in for a rebuilding season and to come as far as they have it’s been a special season,” Gavigan said. “To come in here as a first-year coach and to have the opportunity to defend our title has truly been a blessing.”

Woodland earned the opportunity with a tough 4-3 win over Naugatuck in the semifinals. Mayne set the course for the Hawks with an 8-3 win in the first singles match. The Hawks forged through victories in the No. 2 and 4 singles with Katie Rioux surviving a down-to-the-wire 9-8 battle and Doughney coming away with a 9-8 win.

The No. 1 doubles tandem of Erica Boccuzzi and Paige Gainey pulled away with an 8-4 win to secure victory for the Hawks.

Woodland’s Daphne Cianciolo returns a shot versus Naugatuck’s Kelly Carr during the NVL girls tennis tournament semifinals May 20 in Beacon Falls. Woodland beat Naugatuck and advanced to the final where they fell, 5-2, to Watertown. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Daphne Cianciolo returns a shot versus Naugatuck’s Kelly Carr during the NVL girls tennis tournament semifinals May 20 in Beacon Falls. Woodland beat Naugatuck and advanced to the final where they fell, 5-2, to Watertown. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“I wasn’t expecting the season to go so well, so this is quite a surprise and an honor to have the opportunity to defend the NVL title on our home court,” said Boccuzzi, a senior co-captain.

The NVL individual tournament started Tuesday. The semifinals and finals are set for Thursday at Woodland.

The tandem of Alyssa Varesio of Chloe Ariola made it to the quarterfinals where they fell, 8-6, to Naugatuck’s Abigail Jang and Floraine Evardo.

Mayne remained perfect and booked her trip to the semifinals by beating Wolcott’s Jenna Skerritt, 8-1.

“I play in the fall for a team at Middlebury Racquet and played in some tournaments over the winter to get ready for the season,” said Mayne, who plays year-round and that is evident by her accomplishments on the court.

The Hawks were ranked ninth in the Class M division out of 30 teams as they prepare to make a run in next week’s state tournament.