Hawks remain unbeaten with win over Naugy

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Woodland’s Kyle Beynor returns a shot against Naugatuck’s Jake Burrell Tuesday afternoon in a battle of No. 1 singles players. Beynor won 8-2 as the Hawks beat the Greyhounds to remain perfect. -LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys tennis team continues to roll along as the Hawks got by a tough Naugatuck squad , 6-3, on Tuesday.

The undefeated Hawks (9-0) are the defending Naugatuck Valley League champions while the Greyhounds (6-3) are one of the surprise teams in the league this season.

“Tony (Loomis) and Brian (Mariano) are doing a great job over there at Naugatuck,” Woodland coach Jim Amato said. “For first-year coaches in short order, they have really turned that program around. They toughed out some tough matches with Wolcott but they have really improved as a team.”

Woodland came out strong and won all six singles matches to seal the victory before doubles play even began. The Hawks’ No. 1 player, junior Kyle Beynor, continued his amazing streak of 29 straight varsity wins by defeating Naugy’s Jake Burrell, 8-2.

“Kyle is such an intelligent player and seems to get stronger when the pressure is on,” Amato said. “Last year we had Mike Krakowski win the gold medal and Kyle has stepped into that role this year. But it takes a team to win an NVL championship. Everyone has stepped up this year and we are playing very well as a team.”

The Hawks began to build a margin over Naugatuck with No. 2 Jimmy Tompkins defeating Nick Hernandez, 8-2, No. 3 Matt Murphy getting past Jake Morrissey, 8-3, and No. 4 Stephen Pec winning, 8-0, over Lain Burger.

Naugatuck’s No. 1 singles player Jake Burrell warms up before his match with Woodland’s Kyle Beynor Tuesday afternoon in Beacon Falls. -LUKE MARSHALL

Woodland closed out the singles portion of the match with two more victories to take a 6-0 lead with No. 5 Pat Dietz defeating Mike Popescue, 8-1, and No. 6 Mike Patsiarikas winning an 8-2 decision over Tyler Posser.

“You always want to prepare and play to be where we are right now at this point in the season,” Amato said.

Naugatuck continued to battle and recorded victories in the doubles portion of the match with the Burrell-Popescue tandem getting past the Nick Rioux-Chris Zmuda duo, 7-6 (7-5), while Hernandez and Yun Yue Chen defeated Mike Ventimiglia and Johan Haile, 6-0, and Posser and Randy Kostka beat Pat Mulholland and Alex Tulk, 6-0.

The loss didn’t damper Naugatuck’s high spirits after a strong start.

“We knew we had a good group of guys coming into the season,” Naugatuck coach Brian Mariano said. “But being first-year coaches you still don’t know what to expect. But we have been impressed with the effort and determination that these guys have displayed so far this season.”

“Both of our losses to Wolcott (5-4) came right down to the end,” Naugatuck coach Tony Loomis said. “Wolcott is a very good team and I thought we showed just how competitive we can be in the NVL. I think it helped us to become a very confident team heading down the stretch in the season.”

Naugatuck hosts Watertown on Wednesday before visiting Holy Cross on Monday. Woodland visits the Crusaders on Wednesday before hosting Sacred Heart on Thursday. The Hawks will then play four straight away from home, including a rematch with the Greyhounds on May 3.