NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck volleyball team lost its season opener to Torrington on Monday but it delivered a message to the Naugatuck Valley League at the same time. The Greyhounds plan on being competitive with every team in the league and when the chips are down, don’t expect them to throw in the towel.
Torrington, a usual league contender, defeated — rather, escaped — with a 3-1 win over Naugatuck. The game scores were 12-25, 26-24, 25-18 and 25-20.
The Greyhounds showed how tough they can be when they methodically took apart the Raiders to the tune of a 25-12 victory in game one of the match.
Naugatuck also showed its resolve in game four when it faced a knee-buckling 20-7 deficit. While most teams may have given the nod to go start the bus, this year’s Greyhounds are not most teams.
Naugy dug down, planted its feet and began to leap after every ball over the net. Before the Raiders knew what hit them, they were clinging to a 24-20 lead with the ‘Hounds serving.
The stunning comeback was finally over on a serve into the net but the message was delivered loud and clear.
“This is a very athletic group of girls and they don’t play passively,” Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche said. “When you play aggressively good things will happen. We had the momentum after game one. We had a few mistakes and that will happen from time to time. But I’m proud of how these girls stuck together and played with a never-say-die attitude in the last game. They stared to cover a lot of the court and got back in the game. That kind of play will bode well for them down the road.”
In game one Naugy quickly jumped out to 12-4 advantage and never looked back. Ashley Whitney (14 service points, five aces) put the ‘Hounds in the driver’s seat by ripping off a five-point run. Kara Klimaszewski got a fist on a return for a back row save, Stefani Barry kept it alive setting it up for the front row and Kait Barry fired it down the sideline to keep the run going.
It was that kind of team play and communication on the court that served the ‘Hounds well. Kayla Rotatori (five kills) and Ana Castelao (three blocks) played fearlessly at the net. Torrington misfired on several serves out of bounds as the Naugy lead grew.
Lauren Burns (15 service points) and Klimaszewski (10 service points) helped close out the convincing game-one win.
Game two was the momentum changer. Erika Andreoli gave Naugy a 9-8 lead on a serve to the back row, but a delay followed while the officials tended to an out-of-position player on the Raiders side of the court.
When play resumed the ‘Hounds had lost a step and Torrington built a 19-15 advantage. Klimaszewski rattled off a five-point run to tie the game at 21-21, and Andreoli fired an ace to give Naugy a game point, but a Naugatuck error on that point opened the door for Torrington, which served out the game.
The momentum shift allowed the Raiders to pull away in game three. Teree Perkins came on for Naugy and played strong at the net but it did little to slow down Torrington, which pulled away for a 25-18 win.
The Raiders appeared to make quick work of the ‘Hounds in game four, running out to a 20-7 lead. Megan Warnke came on for Naugy as the libero and the points stopped going up on the scoreboard for Torrington.
Whitney and Burns put up extended service runs as the Greyhounds showed their resolve and the lead was down to five at 23-18. Naugy got the serve back for the final time, trailing 24-20, before putting one in the net to end the drama.
Naugy is back in action Thursday versus Holy Cross. The Greyhounds play Friday at Oxford and return home Monday against Terryville.