Word from the Woods
The Woodland boys tennis team continued its undefeated regular season and clinched the program’s first-ever Naugatuck Valley League championship with two more wins last week, moving to 17-0 on the season. Last Wednesday, the Hawks breezed past Crosby, 8-1. Mike Krakowski, Pat Dietz, Matt Murphy, Kyle Beynor, Steve Pec, and Jimmy Tompkins swept the singles action while the teams of Nick Boccuzzi-Mike Patsiarikas and Chris Zmuda-Nick Rioux earned doubles wins. The Hawks clinched the league championship with a 5-4 win over Wolcott last Thursday. The Eagles took victories in the top three singles matches, but Beynor, Pec, and Tompkins salvaged a singles split with wins in their matches. Wolcott also won at No. 1 singles, but the teams of Dietz-Beynor and Pec-Tompkins rallied for close wins to push the Hawks to the win and the championship. Woodland is scheduled to finish the regular season with matches against Holy Cross and Sacred Heart this week before next week’s NVL tournament.
The Hawks stayed mired in a rut last week with two more close losses to Crosby and Wolcott, dropping Woodland’s record to 9-8. Last Wednesday, Woodland lost to the Bulldogs, 4-3, before also losing to the Eagles, 4-3. Lauren Tremaglio won both of her matches and was the only undefeated singles player during those matches. The teams of Eileen Hurley-Brooke Dragon and Dayna Chucta-Amanda Olivera earned wins against Crosby. Julia Lawton sealed a singles win against Wolcott while the team of Olivera-Rachel Mariano gained a doubles win against the Eagles. The Hawks were scheduled to face Seymour this week to close out the regular season with the NVL team tournament set for Friday, but that would likely be moved due to weather.
Woodland competed in three matches this week with Anthony Memoli leading the team in two of them. Last Thursday, Memoli shot a team-best 42 against the Ansonia/Derby Co-op, while Nick Veneri carded a 45, and Mike Segala and Pat O’Dell each turned in a 51. On Friday, the Hawks hosted St. Paul, where Andrew O’Dell led the squad with a 52. Matt Greggis shot a 55, Steve Semoyan carded a 59, and Dave Hardy turned in a 61. On Monday, Memoli turned in his best round of the season with a 38 at East Mountain against Crosby. Mike Segala shot a 42 while Pat O’Dell carded a 47 and Greggis turned in 55. Woodland was set to host Kennedy and Shepaug Valley on Thursday at Oxford Greens before hosting Wilby on Friday and visiting Naugatuck on Monday.
Naugatuck split a pair of matches this week and has now won five of its last eight matches. On Monday, the ‘Hounds beat Wilby, 6-3, to improve to 7-9 on the season. Last week, Naugy narrowly lost to Watertown, 5-4. At the Indians, No. 2 and No. 3 singles players Jake Burrell and Riker Mitchell earned wins while those two teamed up to earn a victory in the top doubles spot. The other Greyhounds’ win came from the team of Richard Mitchell-John Dana. Naugatuck has two matches scheduled at the end of this week before next week’s NVL tournament.
The Naugatuck girls won two of three matches over the last week to continue their hot second half of the season. After losing to St. Paul last Tuesday, the ‘Hounds swept Ansonia, 7-0, last Wednesday. Naugy then competed in a close, 4-3 match against Seymour but came out on the losing end. Against the Wildcats, No. 3 singles player Katie Bottinick earned the only singles win for the ‘Hounds while the teams of Megan Wilson-Lani Chucta and Abigail Janneke-Kristen Cuzzi gained doubles victories. On Monday, Naugatuck swept Wilby to improve to 10-7. Miranda Jang, Kaitlin Carter, Bottinick, and Andrea Jimenez all won singles matches while the teams of Alexis Ramos-Jess Buckley, Wilson-Chucta, and Janneke-Cuzzi earned doubles victories. The Greyhounds have one more match against Holy Cross left in the regular season before the NVL team tournament begins. The tournament was scheduled to start Friday, but may be moved due to weather.
Naugatuck had only one match this week but earned a narrow, 178-179 victory over Sacred Heart on Monday at Hop Brook. Tim Fleck was the medalist as he turned in a 41 for the ‘Hounds. Mike Leona shot a 45 while Aaron Johnson and Nick Tribanas each carded a 46. Matt Schumacher shot a 52. The victory helped Naugy improve to 6-3 on the season. The ‘Hounds will travel to Watertown on Thursday before hosting three matches against Woodland, Wolcott, and Crosby the first three days of next week.
Lips to CN’s Ear
“I honestly didn’t envision that we would be 16-3 at this point in the season. I think all those one-run games early on gave them a lot of confidence. The team really came together rather quickly.”
Woodland softball coach Loren Luddy reflecting on her team’s unexpected impressive play this season. The Hawks lost five starters from last year’s Naugatuck Valley League championship team but have hardly skipped beat with solid pitching and timely hitting. Woodland will be a top-four seed in next week’s NVL tournament.
“It’s been like that all season. It has taken everyone in that dugout to accumulate the 13 wins. We only have 14 guys and they have all contributed at different times and today was a perfect example of a total team effort.”
Naugatuck baseball coach Tom Deller after his team’s eight-inning, 2-1 victory over Wilby on Monday. Many different players have contributed to the Greyhounds’ wins this season, and that was the case on Monday as Kyle Lopes drove in Mike Burns with the game-winning run after Matt Zahornasky and Adam Neveski worked on the mound. Naugatuck will likely be a top-four seed in next week’s NVL tournament.
“We’re going in pretty confident. The kids are still a little burned. I know the boys, after tying Holy Cross and letting Watertown get away from us, have something to prove. And if people overlook our girls, I think they’re hitting their stride right now.”
Woodland boys track coach Tim Shea on the Hawks’ chance in next week’s NVL championship meet. Neither the boys nor the girls can win the championship after close losses during the regular season, but several teams and individuals are expected to challenge for wins in most events. The championships are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Woodland.
“The playoffs for us started a week ago. I think we’re playing better than we have all year. The pitching has stepped up.”
Woodland baseball coach Mike Kingsley after his team qualified for the state tournament for the eighth straight year with a 5-4 win over Derby on Monday. The Hawks avenged a 9-0 defeat at the hands of the Red Raiders from earlier in the season by playing strong defense, strong pitching efforts by Billy Alfiere and Brian Langdon, a three-run homer by Sean Deegan, and utilizing sacrifice bunts, flies, and stolen bases. Woodland is still alive to qualify for next week’s NVL tournament.