Hounds, Hawks tested in state tennis tourneys

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By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News

The Woodland boys and Naugatuck girls tennis teams ran into stiff competition at states.

No. 9 Woodland fell, 4-3, to No. 8 Shepaug in the first round of the Class S boys tournament May 28.

Andy Hopkinson and Tyler Macdowell won singles matches for Woodland. The doubles team of Nick Bshara and Kayo Niebrzydowski battled to victory, before Shepaug pulled out the win in the final doubles match.

Woodland finished the regular season 11-5 and runner-up in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament. The Hawks will only lose senior Austin Roberts to graduation.

The Naugatuck boys finished the regular season 5-8, one win short of qualifying for the Class L tournament.

The Greyhounds have built a solid foundation for next season and will need to fill the spots of seniors Fernando Moreno, Jay Barth and Aaron Santos.

The Naugatuck girls earned the No. 8 seed in Class L. The Greyhounds fell to No. 9 Pomperaug, 6-1, in the first round on May 28.

Naugy’s tandem of Alena Rotatori and Diana Rebelo earned a 6-3, 6-1 win.

After a rough 0-4 start to the year, the Greyhounds turned the season around and won 12 of their last 14 matches. Seniors Ashley Antunes, Kasia Deptula, Rebecca Carney, Hope Pecor, Rebelo and Ally LaBarre led the Greyhounds.

“We did quite well in the NVL after a slow start when we were quarantined at the beginning of the season,” head coach Jose Sendra said. “These girls are great kids. They work hard, they are hard-working students and have become very competent tennis players.”

“(Assistant coach) Stephanie Deluca really helped these girls get through that tough stretch and we were playing our best at the end of the season,” he added.

The Woodland girls finished the regular season 9-6 but opted not to participate in the Class M tournament because of a conflict with the school’s prom.

“It seems to happen every year where the tournament conflicts with the prom,” Woodland head coach Jessica DeGennaro said. “We are trying to address that and move it to an earlier time. It makes it a tough choice for the girls.”

The Hawks were led by seniors Samantha Erickson, Autym Dahlman, Kayleigh Huk and Olivia Vallejo.

“We didn’t know what to expect going into this season with the restrictions and the possibility of having it shut down,” DeGennaro said. “We learned to appreciate every day that we were on the court. We had a very successful season with such a young team.”