NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck golf team concluded the season finishing eighth at the NVL championship June 4 at the Watertown Country Club.
Junior captain Jake Alcorace led the ‘Hounds with a round of 88, the eighth best individual score, at the NVL tournament. As a team, Naugy shot a 415. Alcorace was joined by teammates senior captain P.J. Murphy, junior Nick Fox and sophomores Kody Butler and Chris Sheedy.
The final score card doesn’t tell the complete story of where this team began the season and where it ended up.
“I couldn’t be prouder of where this team ended up,” Naugatuck head coach Bob Clark said. “All season long they worked hard at practice and competed hard on the course.”
Clark continued, “We showed continuous improvement from the first match all the way through the season. I’m very encouraged at how this team grew and become more confident. I’m excited about the future of Naugatuck golf and if these returning players put in the work over the summer we can be a very competitive team next season.”
Naugatuck will need to replace Murphy, the team’s MVP, and senior captain Erica Spino along with senior Dan Martins. The ‘Hounds have a very solid core coming back led by Alcorace, who was the team’s medalist in most of the matches.
Another bright spot was the development of sophomore Kody Butler, who was named the team’s most improved player. Butler was the first Greyhound to break into the 40s this season when he shot a 47 against Woodland.
“Kody is a hard worker,” Clark said. “At the beginning of the season you didn’t know which way the ball was going to go. But he stuck with it and became one of our most consistent players down the stretch. He took a ten on the third hole against Woodland and still ended up with a 47, that shows you the never-give-up attitude he has.”
Naugatuck started the season in the 240 range and by the fourth match of the season they had knocked 30 strokes off their game. After dropping a tough 195-215 loss to St. Paul, the ‘Hounds picked up their second victory of the season in a 204-238 win over Kennedy.
The growing pains continued, though, for a team that needed to replace almost the entire starting lineup from the year before. Naugatuck suffered two tough losses to Wolcott 181-193 and 195-201.
“We stared to get our driving down keeping it in the fairway,” Clark said. “But we were inconsistent in our putting and that added some strokes to our game. P.J. was an excellent leader keeping everyone up as he led by example. No matter what happened on the course he was always a positive influence.”
The Greyhounds were showing signs of improvement and their opponents were beginning to take notice. In a match late in the season, Naugatuck came up on the short end of a 168-191 final to NVL champion Watertown. Murphy led the way shooting a 43 with Alcorace right on his heels with a 44. Martins hit a solid 49 and Fox finished up with a 55.
Naugatuck showed how far they have come when they recorded a season-best score of 189-249 in a win over Wilby. Alcorace was the medalist shooting a 42 with Murphy at 45 and Butler at 46. Junior Etahn Maxwell concluded the scoring with a round of 56 giving the ‘Hounds their best round of the year.
Naugatuck is looking forward to the future development of a solid core of freshman in Nick Karas, Hannah Butler, Abigail Pruchnicki and Samantha Royka.
“If we expect to compete with Watertown and Holy Cross then we need to go out and put in the work over the summer,” Clark said. “I’m looking forward to next season already because we have the players in place to make a solid run next year.”