Opportunity knocks

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‘Hounds take advantage of their chances

Naugatuck’s P.J. Morrissey lunges at the net to return a shot Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s P.J. Morrissey lunges at the net to return a shot Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys tennis team has won two of the last three matches to improve to 4-3 on the season. A good start for a team that lost all but one of its starters from last season.

“We’ve had a few kids drop off the team, but some of these younger guys have stepped up to the opportunity that has been presented to them and they are succeeding,” Naugatuck head coach Brett Hayward said.

The hard is work is paying off.

“All I ask from them is to show up everyday, work hard and good things will happen,” Hayward said. “If you put in the work it will eventually show up in the results, and so far we are doing pretty well for a young team.”

Naugatuck captured a 6-3 victory last Saturday against Kennedy, led by senior Jake Gingold, who won an 8-4 decision.

“Jake has been a great leader on this young team,” Hayward said. “He’s never an easy out and already has come from behind to win an overtime match for us to spark the team.”

Sophomores P.J. Morrissey (8-4) and Marco Rebelo (8-6) earned victories over the Eagles to put the ‘Hounds in command.

Junior German exchange student Ivo Wendt won his match by an 8-4 margin, and freshman Alec Durante sealed the deal with a hard-fought 8-6 win to complete the singles action.

The tandems of Morrissey and sophomore Matt Triscritti, and Durante and junior Jacob Torres came up short against the Eagles in the doubles matches. Naugatuck did close out the match with a victory as the team of Wendt and Rebelo worked out a win for the 6-3 final margin.

“Morrissey and Triscritti are only sophomores but they have really been coming through for us,” Hayward said. “Torres and James Clark have been picking up their game and giving us some options providing depth.”

Wendt and Durante are new to the game. But what they lack in experience they make up for with energy, their coach said.

“Wendt and Durante have never played tennis before, but they bring a lot of energy to the court and they are having a blast and winning matches,” Hayward said. “There is a lot of camaraderie on the team with guys pulling for one another and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

The Greyhounds fell, 9-0, to Torrington Monday, but bounced back Tuesday with a 6-3 victory over Crosby to climb above the .500 mark.

Naugatuck’s Marco Rebelo returns a shot Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s Marco Rebelo returns a shot Monday versus Torrington at Naugatuck High. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Gingold battled to another victory with an 8-5 decision over Crosby’s Thaddaeus Vaichus.

Morrissey earned an 8-5 win over Gabe Pacheco. Rebelo dropped a tough 9-7 overtime match to Rilind Abazi. The ‘Hounds then rose to the occasion with Triscritti winning 8-3 over Dinesh Ramijit and Wendt going all out in an 8-0 win over Desmond Hall. Naugatuck won two other matches by forfeit for the 6-3 final margin.

“Even with just one senior we are showing signs of improvement,” Gingold said. “For such a young team and to be over .500 at this point is just a testament to how hard they are working.”

The senior leader said the team is coming together.

“We came together as a team and some of the younger guys have stepped up to take on expanded roles, and we are winning matches,” Gingold said.

Naugatuck will host Watertown on Thursday. The ‘Hounds will hit the road next week to face Sacred Heart May 6 and Holy Cross May 7.