Season preview: Girls tennis

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The Naugatuck girls tennis team won the NVL championship in 2019 and is still defending champion after last season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. –FILE PHOTO

Naugatuck

2019 results: 18-1; defeated Watertown to win NVL championship

Graduated: Brielle Behuniak, Hailey Russell, Christina Rego, Yahna Ancheta, Abby Lariccia

Seniors: Ashley Antunes, Rebecca Carney, Trinity Crisanti, Kasia Deptula, Danna Dominguez, Allyson LaBarre, Hope Pecor, Diana Rebelo

Season opener: April 10 vs. Holy Cross

Naugatuck’s roster has many new players from the team that won the Naugatuck Valley League championship in 2019.

Ashley Antunes is the only experienced player, but coach Jose Sendra is impressed with how the team is stepping up so far.

“Along with our seniors, we have a very talented junior class with Mia Grella, Shravani Daptadar, Tiffany Nguyen and Alena Rotatori,” Sendra said. “They are all showing impressive skills, despite not having a season last year. Probably because they don’t have to unlearn any mistakes I might have taught them.”

“We are going to work on improving our strokes each and every practice,” Sendra added. “The hope is to be peaking as a team at the NVLs. Our juniors are showing tremendous promise, and it’s just good to have the team out there together after losing last season.”

Woodland

2019 results: 10-5; lost to St. Paul in NVL quarterfinals

Graduated: Casey Brooks, Paige Resnick, Theresa Sherwood, Morgan Swift

Seniors: Samantha Erickson (captain), Olivia Vallejo (captain), Kayleigh Huk, Autym Dahlman

Season opener: April 10 vs. Wolcott

Woodland graduated seven starters from the 2019 season, the last time the Hawks took the court, so coach Jessica DeGennaro is looking to rebuild and provide plenty of opportunities for younger players to step up.

Junior Brooke Reilly will play No. 1 singles, and the team’s four seniors will lead this group of 15 players.

“With only two returning seniors that have match experience and a junior who will be our top player, a majority of our first-year players will see time in the lineup,” DeGennaro said. “Usually with a much larger squad, players don’t see much playing time until their junior or senior year. But we have a much smaller team and plenty of opportunities for players to step into the lineup.”