WATERBURY — The Naugatuck volleyball season is starting to come into focus.
The Greyhounds improved to 5-5 overall and 5-4 in the Naugatuck Valley League after a 3-0 win at Crosby on Tuesday night at the Palace. The Greyhounds swept the Bulldogs 25-14, 25-17 and 25-13.
The victory propelled the ‘Hounds into a three-way tie with Holy Cross and Kennedy atop the Copper Division.
In recent matches, there have been signs of growing pains and signs of progress.
On Friday, Naugy fell, 3-1, at home to Woodland. Tuesday was a bounce-back performance.
Jess Buckley scored 24 points on serves, posted four aces and added three kills. Lauren Andreoli also served well, notching 10 points and smashing four kills.
Courtney Quarles and Ashley Whitney were strong at the net on offense. Quarles had six kills, while Whitney had four.
Naugy head coach Fred Scheithe said the difference between good and bad matches has been trust.
“The thing that has hurt us has been inconsistency,” Scheithe said. “When we trust each other and play with confidence we’re a good team.”
One of the most consistent parts of Naugatuck’s game has been serving. Buckley and Andreoli have been vital.
That was on display at Crosby. Buckley had two aces during a 7-0 run to give Naugy a commanding 24-12 lead in the final game on Tuesday night.
“Jess’ and Lauren’s serving help get us leads, and help us keep leads,” Scheithe said.
Quarles and Cataysia Brown have improved up front and given Naugy more options on offense. Scheithe sees improvement in their hitting.
“You’re starting to see them get comfortable and you’re seeing more force behind their hitting,” Scheithe said.
On defense, the back row combination Sarah Chandler, Kaitlyn Hayes, Lani Chucta and Andreoli have been important.
“They’ve been getting to balls everywhere,” Scheithe said.
Chandler has been a true six-position player and someone the team has rallied around.
“Sarah has been our catalyst,” Scheithe said. “When she gets going the team seems to jump on board. We saw it in the win over St. Paul [on Sept. 30]”.
As the second half of the season gets underway, it will take more than one individual to keep Naugy competitive. It’s becoming obvious that Naugatuck has the parts to put together a second-half run.
On Wednesday, the ‘Hounds were scheduled to face an upstart Seymour squad. On Friday, the team faces Holy Cross for the second time this season—the Greyhounds defeated the Crusaders on opening night in Naugatuck.
“It will be interesting,” Scheithe said. “Now we get to face almost everyone for a second time.”