Chatham Girls Tennis Seeks Fifth Straight Morris County Tournament Championship

The Chatham girls tennis teams seeks a fifth straight Morris County Tournament championship this fall Credits: TAP Chatham
Seden Agar has won two straight MCT crowns at second singles for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham
Senior Lena Parsch returns to play singles for Chatham High after a two-year respite from high school tennis Credits: TAP Chatham
Junior Lana DePasquale moves from doubles to third singles for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham
Senior Julia Gallop and freshman Libby White will team up at first doubles for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham
Catherine Healy and Elana Tognola form the second-doubles tandem for Chatham Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham coach James Cai talks to his doubles teams before practice, l to r: Libby White, Catherine Healy, Elana Tognola and Julia Gallop Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Since he took over as the head coach of the girls tennis program at Chatham five years ago, James Cai's teams have won four straight Morris County Tournament team championships. There will be one difference this year if the Lady Cougars win a fifth straight MCT - they'll be doing it without the help of Scarlett Blydenburgh.

Blydenburgh played first singles for Chatham for four years, winning four MCT team titles and three first-singles individual county championships.

Despite the loss of Blydenburgh, Chatham comes into 2017 with the talent to make it five straight MCT titles. The team is ranked No. 4 in the state by and last fall junior Seden Agar was selected first team All-State at second singles by She comes into the season battling senior Lena Parsch for the No. 1 singles position for the Lady Cougars.

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"We feel a little pressure (to win the county), but It's best to stay calm and confident," Agar said. "I did go overseas to Australia and Europe to play tennis and visit family. I trained hard."

Agar's confident demeanor brings a certain calmness to the Chatham team. She's also honed her game with a stint at a Turkish tennis academy while overseas this summer.

"I think she's in better shape physically than last year," Cai said. "Seden is so casual on the court. She's always relaxed. She has her game and once she gets into her groove, she hits winners left and right."

Parsch definitely softens the loss of Blydenburgh. After playing for Chatham's MCT championship team as a freshman, Parsch has returned from a two-year absence from high school tennis. Cai describes Parsch as a "heavy hitter."

"I missed being on the team," Parsch said. "I kept in touch with Scarlett (Blydenburgh) and Julia (Gallop) while I was playing at Centercourt. I think I'm coming back as a more consistent player with a variety of shots. I have better strategies for playing a match. My goal is to pay college tennis."

Junior Lana DePasquale moves over to third singles for Chatham from first doubles.

Senior Julia Gallop and freshman left-hander Libby White form the first-doubles team for Chatham, while Elana Tognola and Catherine Healy team up at second doubles.

Chatham opens Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Morristown.

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