Hounds poised for late season run

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Naugatuck High School junior Miranda Jang has been the strongest player for the Greyhounds in this year of runs for tennis team. FILE PHOTO
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls tennis season has been one of runs. First, the Greyhounds lost five straight close matches to start the season. Then, the ‘Hounds won eight straight, including a 4-3 win over defending league champion Woodland.

Naugatuck’s eight-match winning streak finally came to an end Tuesday at Peck Park in Bristol as St. Paul took a 5-2 win over the Greyhounds.

No. 1 singles player Miranda Jang, who has been Naugatuck’s strongest player throughout the season, suffered an 8-2 loss to St. Paul ace Emily Lindsley. No. 2 and 3 players Hannah Kim and Martina Niebryzdowski also suffered losses for Naugy before No. 4 singles player Andrew Jimenez salvaged a singles point with an 8-1 win over Lindsay Sklenka.

The Greyhounds (8-6) couldn’t make up the deficit in doubles play as Naugy’s top two teams of Kayla Gallant-Michaela Santo and Lani Chucta-Megan Wilson both went down. The No. 3 doubles team of Kristen Cuzzi and Abigail Janneke earned an 8-5 win over Christina Cheng and Leah Divenere to contribute the other point for Naugy.

The loss to the Falcons—who are 12-1 on the season—ended what had been a phenomenal stretch of play for the Greyhounds, under first-year coach Jose Sendra.

Naugatuck hadn’t been walking over teams but was finding a way to squeak past opponents.

Last Thursday in Waterbury, the ‘Hounds took down Crosby, 4-3. Jang beat Bulldogs ace Lorika Bytyqi, 8-4, to earn the only singles point of the day for Naugy. Other singles players Kaitlin Carter, Katie Bottnick, and Jimenez fought but couldn’t earn singles wins.

Naugatuck’s doubles teams were crucial, though, sweeping the doubles competition to help the Greyhounds earn the comeback victory. While Cuzzi and Janneke coasted to an 8-1 win over Kelly Silva and Joan Lozada, the top two doubles teams had to fight in the most competitive matches of the day to earn wins.

The top team of Alexa Ramos and Jessica Buckley outlasted Xhensila Spahiu and Rosemary Rosario, 8-6, while Chucta and Wilson needed extra points to beat Melenie Fernandez and Ermira Kondri, 9-7.

The Greyhounds seem to be peaking at the right time, much like they did last year when they finished second in the Naugatuck Valley League team tournament. The ‘Hounds were set to host Ansonia on Wednesday before a visit to Seymour on Thursday. Naugy closes out the regular season with a match at Wilby on Monday before hosting Holy Cross on Tuesday.