NAUGATUCK — The NVL tennis season wraps up this week with teams still fighting for some of the last spots in the league tournament. One of those teams is the Greyhounds of Naugatuck.
Naugatuck stands at 4-9 on the year after falling, 8-1, to Torrington on Monday. The loss marked the sixth in a row for the ‘Hounds.
Despite the recent slump, the Greyhounds still have a chance to claim a spot in the league tournament, which is scheduled to start May 20. Coach Brett Hayward, who is wrapping up his first season as the head honcho, said if his team wants a spot, they are going to have to go out and get it.
“We are in a position where we control our own destiny,” Hayward said. “We are going to work hard and do our best.”
Heading into this week, Hayward hoped to end earn at least two victories out of the three final matches, while always striving to win every match. Winning at least two could give Naugy a chance to sneak in as one of the last seeds.
While Naugy lost on Monday against Torrington, they are still in a good position to reach Hayward’s goal for the week. The Greyhounds are scheduled to take on Woodland in Beacon Falls Wednesday. The Greyhounds defeated the Hawks earlier this year in their season opener, 8-1, and Hayward said his team has only gotten better since opening day.
“We have progressed since that first match so (Wednesday) is going to be a great, hard-fought match,” Hayward said.
On Friday, Naugy is scheduled to play Wilby, who currently sits at a 5-8 record and is in a little slump of their own, losing three in a row.
If Naugy can get a win against Woodland and take that momentum into their final match against Wilby, they can possibly steal one of the final tourney spots. If the ‘Hounds come up short, Hayward can not deny the fact that his team has worked very hard all year, which is all he can ask from a team with not a lot of experience in a starting role.
“The inexperience hinders,” Hayward said. “Last year, we lost 11 seniors and that is tough in any high school sport. Some of these teams that are more experienced with seniors and juniors have gone through the tough times and now it is their moment to shine.”
Hayward said, however, that the inexperience can also be a positive, as certain individuals have stepped up to the opportunities that have been presented to them.
“We are a very young group so there is a lot of opportunity,” Hayward explained. “These kids are coming through in these tough situations.”
Above all, Hayward said the hard work and effort makes the team better than their record.
“The record does not really show the effort and the hustle that these guys have been putting in day-in and day-out,” Hayward said.
Despite their struggles, Hayward is very pleased with his young Greyhounds this year. Their season is not over, yet, as the ‘Hounds looked to end strong with two consecutive wins and maybe an NVL tournament spot.