CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls volleyball team may have lost in straight sets to visiting West Morris on Thursday, but the match was much closer than the score sheet would suggest.

West Morris needed more than the minimum 25 points to win each set - 28-26, 26-24 - and trailed multiple times in each set.

With senior setter Lisa Steward serving while trailing 12-9, the Cougars rallied for eight consecutive points and forced West Morris to call the first timeout of the game. The Wolfpack responded strongly with a run of their own, thanks to several key plays from senior libero Melanie Brothers.

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham had set point up 25-24 in the opening set, but they were unable to close out the Wolfpack as they went on a 4-1 run to take the set.

The second set would be much more consistently even as the teams went back and forth throughout the set. Attack errors would be the downfall for the Lady Cougars in this set, as several of their spikes sailed out of bounds. On a more positive note, senior Emily Langan picked up several kills off the bench and looked very sharp in only the team’s third game of the season.

Steward finished with four digs, 16 assists and two assists while sophomore defensive specialist Sara Szalay registered 23 digs. The Lady Cougars also received strong efforts from Charlotte Ethridge, who ended with eight kills and 10 digs, and Izze Omelczuk, who was credited with 34 digs.

“Today, more than any day, this team effort was why the scores were so close,” Chatham coach Anna Amster said. Amster went on to say that moving forward, they’ll have to “keep the foot on the gas” once they get a lead.

The Lady Cougars (1-2) will return to action 4 p.m. Monday at home against Morristown.