Season preview: Girls basketball

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Naugatuck
2020-21: 5-8 regular season, lost in first round NVL tournament
Graduated: Samantha Valentine
Seniors: Captains, Kaylee Jackson (All-Iron), Kendall Allen, J.J. Magalhaes, Saige Winslow, Jourdyn Brown and seniors Alexia Robertson, Imani Waller
Other key players: Junior Lauryn Ramalho, Sophia DeFilippo, sophomore Aryn Bombery
Season Opener: Dec. 14 vs. Torrington
The Greyhounds return a team with a deep rotation of players led by an experienced group of seniors. Coach Adam Purcaro, in his second year at the helm, is looking for improvement not only from his team but from himself as a coach. Naugatuck comes into the season with high hopes of turning things around.
“I feel I underachieved last season for my standards,” said Purcaro. “But I feel much more prepared and more confident heading into year two. I have the upmost confidence in my team as we go 15 deep. We have some newcomers in junior Indya Waller and Samantha Tyler, along with some younger players, sophomores Laniah Diaz and Ava DeFilippo, who will add to the mix.
“We haven’t won an NVL championship in over 20 years. But I feel once this team tastes success it will be a lot easier for them to buy into what we are looking to do here. The energy has been high, the camaraderie is great and we are ready to put our best foot forward.”

Woodland
2020-21: 10-5 regular season, lost in semifinals of NVL tournament to Holy Cross
Graduated: Ava DeLucia
Seniors: Riley Kane (All-Copper), Andra Bojka, Gabby Mastropietro, Madison Andrews
Other key players: Sophomore Casey Mulligan (All-NVL), junior Olivia Rodriguez, sophomore Ireland Starziski
Season Opener: Dec. 14 vs. Watertown
The Hawks begin a new season with a new coach, Jenn Deeley. That shouldn’t stop the progress of this team that has been on the rise over the past few seasons. Last year’s NVL semifinal run was just scratching the surface of what this group can achieve, especially returning a solid group of seniors who made an impact the last three seasons. Woodland will be down a player as senior Kylie Bulinski will be taking the season off to concentrate on her softball game before she heads off to the University of Rhode Island.
“There is always a bit of a transition with a new coaching staff,” said Deeley. “But with this being such an experienced team coming back I don’t think it will take that long before we are all on the same page.”
“We will miss Kylie (Bulinski), who is a phenomenal athlete, but we have solid senior leadership and we will be ready to compete. And who doesn’t want to hang a banner up at the end of March?”