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.”