Naugy boys face stiff competition at Class Ls

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Naugatuck High’s Julian Milek, an exchange student from Germany, returns a shot during the semifinals of the NVL tournament against Woodland's Matt Murphy May 22 at Wolcott High School. Milek won the match but lost in the finals to Woodland’s Kyle Beynor. Milek, the Greyhounds’ top singles player, posted the only win for Naugatuck Tuesday in the opening round of the Class L state tournament. -RA ARCHIVE
Naugatuck High’s Julian Milek, an exchange student from Germany, returns a shot during the semifinals of the NVL tournament against Woodland’s Matt Murphy May 22 at Wolcott High School. Milek won the match but lost in the finals to Woodland’s Kyle Beynor. Milek, the Greyhounds’ top singles player, posted the only win for Naugatuck Tuesday in the opening round of the Class L state tournament. -RA ARCHIVE

WILTON — The competition was fierce at the Class L opening round of the boys tennis tournament on Tuesday. The Greyhounds finished the day 1-7 with top singles player Julian Milek posting the only victory in the first round.

“We had a tough day,” Naugatuck head coach Tony Loomis said. “There were a couple of positive aspects. We won more games and sets than last year and Julian advanced to the second round. He lost to a very strong player from Darien.”

Milek is a senior on exchange from Germany with an extensive tennis background.

“It was good to expose Julian to a large tournament like this,” Loomis said. “He was certainly taken back at how many players were around and competing.”

The Greyhounds showed tremendous improvement after going 14-4 last year with five seniors. This season Naugatuck went 16-2 with Milek as the only senior on the team.

Milek played for the Naugatuck Valley League singles championship last week but was upended by Woodland’s Kyle Beynor 6-3, 6-4. Beynor handed Milek his only two NVL losses on the season but Milek ended the undefeated career streak of Beynor during the regular season.

It took Milek 2 ½ hours to dispose of Woodland’s Matt Murphy in the NVL semifinals, winning a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 marathon.

In the Class L tournament, the 14th-seeded Milek defeated Farmington’s Andy Ham, 4-6, 6-1,(10-6). No. 19 Gregory Thorne of Darien knocked off Milek in the second round, 6-0, 6-1, to move on to the quarterfinals.

“It was so great. It was a pleasure to play for Naugatuck,” Milek said. “Everybody was so friendly and supported me on the court and off the court. I will always remember my time here.”

Yun Yue Chen dropped an opening-round decision to Farmington’s Patrick Lau, 3-6, 1-6. Mike Popescu won the opening set of his match before falling 6-2, 2-6, (3-10) to Wethersfield’s Andy Lucibella.

Jake Gingold lost a 6-2, 6-0 decision to East Lyme’s Charley Ren and Nate Lindsley battled Middletown’s Lance Timmons but came up short by a 7-5, 6-2 margin.

In the doubles draw, Yun Chao Chen and Tyler Posser got edged by Conard’s David Gates and Jacob Karp, 6-4, 6-2. Jeff Hensley and Jake Morrissey fell to Bristol Eastern’s Nick Cimadon and Ryan Kelley, 6-3, 6-3.

“Overall I’m not satisfied with our performance,” Loomis said. “I felt with the season we had we would have done much better. Next year we have a bunch of seniors returning. I hope they are committed to improving in the offseason and at the start of next year.”