WATERBURY — The Naugatuck girls volleyball team drew a home game for the Class L state tournament opener and Holy Cross High School obliged — letting the ‘Hounds use its gymnasium to be closer to home.
The Greyhounds, who have been playing on the road this season due to renovations going on at Naugatuck High, used the home-away-from-home scenario to their advantage. Naugatuck upended Guilford 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-19) on Monday.
“We have been playing on the road all season long so to get a home game and having Holy Cross let us use their place it allowed us to settle in to a familiar atmosphere,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said.
No. 15 Naugatuck (15-7) saw a game one lead evaporate into a tough 25-23 loss against No. 18 Guilford (13-10). But there were early signs that the Greyhounds had a front row presence capable of pulling out the win.
That was evident in game two. Anchored by Olivia Rotatori (11 kills, five blocks) Alexa Blazas (six kills), Alexandra Mezzo (nine kills) and Teree Perkins (seven kills, two blocks), the Greyhounds pulled away to a convincing 25-15 win to tie the match at 1-1.
Kara Klimaszewski steered the offense with 31 assists and 14 service points. Lauren Burns (18 points) and Megan Warnke (15 points) helped to give Naugatuck the edge in game three as the Greyhounds took a hard-fought 25-22 victory.
“We made some mistakes in game one allowing Guilford to come back on us,” Wesche said. “Once we made the adjustments and started to attack the net it turned into our favor.”
Erica Andreoli protected the back row with Kelly Murphy, Jenna Massicotte and Nicole Healy going from sideline to sideline to save returns and keep volleys alive. That inspired play allowed Naugatuck to pull out game four by a 25-19 final and take the match.
“We forced Guilford to go over our blockers at the net and made it easier for the middle row to make the returns,” Wesche added. “Burns really gave us a spark offensively and now we go back on the road with our work cut out for us on Thursday.”
Naugatuck will visit No. 2 RHAM (18-0), last year’s Class L state champions, on Thursday in the second round. The game starts at 6 p.m.