CHATHAM, NJ -  In a bizarre series of events, Chatham High's first-year softball coach Joelle Della Volpe was suspended before her first game of the season on Thursday, just hours before the Lady Cougars defeated Bergen Tech, 4-0, at the middle school.

According to two sources who declined to be quoted, Della Volpe was suspended by Chatham High Principal Darren Groh at the school on Thursday afternoon. Sophomore pitcher Melissa Landry said the team learned about the suspension in a meeting held after school.

"I was very surprised," Landry said.

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Chatham High sent an email out to the parents around 3:15 p.m. that said that Della Volpe would not be at the game.

When reached by phone after the game, Della Volpe declined to comment.

Attempts to receive an official statement from Principal Groh or Chatham Athletic Director Bill Librera have been unsuccessful at this time.

Parents of softball team members attending the game at the middle school declined to comment publicly on the situation.

Chatham assistant coaches Dave Shellenhamer and Anabel Rodriguez coached the team in Della Volpe's absence.

"I didn't find out till I got here," senior pitcher Susie Wolsch said. "Just trying to move past it and prepare for our first game; try to stay positive. (The reason) was not really disclosed to us."