Naugy boys off to perfect start

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Naugatuck’s Julian Milek returns a shot during his No. 1 singles match against Crosby’s Shpetim Bytqi Tuesday in Naugatuck. Milek won the match, 8-1. –RA ARCHIVE
Naugatuck’s Julian Milek returns a shot during his No. 1 singles match against Crosby’s Shpetim Bytqi Tuesday in Naugatuck. Milek won the match, 8-1. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys tennis team continues to gather steam as it swept Crosby, 9-0, Tuesday to start the season 7-0.
The ‘Hounds had a tough opening stretch to the season with Wolcott, Holy Cross and Torrington, but they bounded out of the gate to get by all three nemeses and have not shown any signs of slowing down.

Naugy’s singles players have combined to drop only one match this season with No. 2 seed Mike Popescu (6-1) losing a close match against Kennedy. Julian Milek, Tyler Posser, Yun Chao Chen, Jake Morrissey and Jeff Hensley all sported 7-0 records after Tuesday.

“Wolcott beat us twice last year. It was certainly a nice way to start the season beating them and then we just started to put it together,” Naugatuck head coach Tony Loomis said. “I’m very happy with the way my guys are playing right now. The key is that they continue to listen to their coach, work hard and not get too over confident.”

The Greyhounds came out with a lot of confidence against Crosby and Milek set the tone by knocking off Bulldogs No. 1 seed Shpetim Bytqi, 8-1.

Popescu continued that momentum by taking care of Thaddaeus Vaichus in an 8-2 final. Naugatuck went ahead by a 3-0 margin when Posser dropped the hammer on Norbert Jakova, winning by an 8-2 score. Yun Chao Chen took it to Inri Panajoti by an 8-1 margin to make it 4-0.

The Greyhounds’ dominance in singles play continued with Jake Morrissey roughing up Gabriel Pacheco, 8-1, and Jeff Hensley finishing the singles sweep by closing the door on Joe Stack, 8-0.

Naugatuck’s Mike Popescu returns a shot during his match against Crosby’s Thaddaeus Vaichus Tuesday in Naugatuck. Popescu won the match, 8-2. –RA ARCHIVE
Naugatuck’s Mike Popescu returns a shot during his match against Crosby’s Thaddaeus Vaichus Tuesday in Naugatuck. Popescu won the match, 8-2. –RA ARCHIVE

“I’m looking to get the guys to approach every practice and every match very seriously,” Loomis said. “It doesn’t take a lot to lose your edge and then suddenly you are struggling in a match. You need to keep that focus and that desire even in practice.”

There was no lost focus against the Bulldogs as the double teams closed in on the sweep of the match. Hensley teamed up with Yun Yue Chen to win the first doubles match, 6-0. Nate Lindsly and Jake Gingold earned a 6-0 shutout in the second doubles match and the ‘Hounds closed it out with Fernando Branco and Marcus Cruz winning the third doubles match, 6-0.

“It’s a long season and there is still much work to do,” Loomis said. “I’m finally settling on what doubles pairs work the best out on the court and what makes the most sense. All things considered, I’m pleased at how my doubles teams are performing. I’m trying to get the guys to be mentally tough because when you get two or three matches in a span of three or four days you can lose that focus.”

The Greyhounds’ now stand at a perfect 9-0 on the year after beating Torrington, 8-1, on Wednesday and Wolcott, 7-2, on Thursday.

On Monday there will be a Naugatuck Valley League showdown in the borough as the ‘Hounds host two-time defending champion Woodland.