CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls volleyball team "activated' its game in defeating Johnson Regional in the opening round of the NJSIAA Public, Group 2 state tournament on Wednesday.
"We have this thing in practice, this game we call "Activation." When you play that game you really get into it, so we kind of played the game like we're playing in practice," Chatham junior middle Christina Massa said. "In order to earn points, you need to earn more points in a row. So it it kind of stresses and emphasizes consistency. When we're on the side of the court, we say get activated. You have to get activated and that really gets into your head."
The Lady Cougars won their matchup with Johnson in straight sets, 25-8 and 25-17, to advance in the state tournament. Chatham (13-10) travels to meet fourth-seeded River Dell (19-5) on Friday in the next round.
The victory over Johnson marked the final game of the season for Chatham coach Anna Amster, who is set to deliver her baby at any time. Amster's doctor is now allowing a trip to River Dell.
"There's always room to improve and do better," Amster said of the victory.
Chatham started the first set strong as Lisa Steward opened the game with an service ace. The Lady Cougars scored the first four points of the set. A kill by Sarah Prill and Massa's service ace pushed the lead to 10-4. Carolyn Johnson won three service points to gain a 16-5 lead before Ella Maddi's kill pushed the Chatham lead to 20-6. Izze Omelczuk won the point to clinch the first set.
In the second set, Noelle Burger hit a service ace to begin a run of four straight points for Chatham that built a 17-10 advantage. Rashida Haye's kill off a set by Steward handed Chatham a 22-15 lead. Massa put away a Steward set to finish the set and the match.
"It was the last home game (for Amster) and for the seniors, too, so we really wanted to make it one they can remember," Massa said.
Steward ended with 10 assists, three digs and two service aces for Chatham, which received five aces and a kill from Burger. Olivia Diaz-Saavedra and Haye each knocked down three kills.
Olivia Diaz-Saavedra finishes point for Chatham in video below