BY JASON LEVY
WATERTOWN — Emalyn Osborne thinks the Watertown women’s tennis team could get under the skin of their Naugatuck Valley League counterparts. But the senior doubles player and No.2 thinks it’s not necessarily because the Warriors have won all of their league games.
“I think the other schools really think we’re a little obnoxious because our team always cheers each other on,” Osborne said Tuesday before a game against Nonnewaug. “It’s part of the fact that we’re such good friends off the pitch too. We support each other so much.
This camaraderie on and off the field is a big reason the Warriors are able to defend their NVL crown. Watertown is 11-0 in the league and 11-1 overall with its first loss to Nonnewaug, 4-3, on Tuesday at Crestbrook Park. Holy Cross (10-1, 10-0) is just behind Watertown with Wolcott (10-3, 10-1) in pursuit.
Watertown coach Mark Zaborowski scheduled the game against a tough Nonnewaug side knowing it could end in defeat but should pay off in the long run, especially after Watertown lost half of their last year’s starters at graduation.
No. 1 singles player Ally Stoto, who won the title-deciding match in the NVL Finals at the No. 1 doubles last season, said it was an adjustment to the No. 1 singles role. Even when she loses, like she did on Tuesday, she finds ways to support the team.
“It’s mostly about encouraging them,” Stoto said. “When people cheer me on and I hit an ace serve, they’re like, ‘Yeah, go Ally.’ It helps a lot to know that I have a team behind me and even if I lose they are still proud of the way I played.
The Warriors will face their toughest time the rest of the week. After a match with Wilby today, Watertown have back-to-back matches against Wolcott followed by a showdown with Holy Cross, which has yet to be scheduled. Watertown will be without Maggie Dessatti, half of their unbeaten No. 1 doubles team in doubles with Meghan Hughes. Dessatti is out for the week with a neck injury. Hughes and Charlotte Manalo lost to Nonnewaug’s unbeaten No. 1 doubles team of Sofia Pagnamenta and Marley Baker, 8-3.
Dessatti is confident that Manolo will slip right into the top spot in doubles.
“(Manolo) and I have really similar styles of play, so I don’t think it will be a problem for Meghan and her to communicate well and play well together,” Dessatti said. “It stinks a bit that this is our most competitive week of the season, but I think Meghan and Charlotte will pull it off anyway.”