CHATHAM, NJ - There was a moment during the Morris County Tournament girls tennis finals on Sunday when Chatham doubles partners Jen McCann and Abby Morgan were out of character.
"We got kind of angry," McCann said. "It was a make-or-break point that we lost and it put us down, 6-5. We needed to calm ourselves down. We knew we couldn't win if we stayed mad."
McCann and Morgan got back to what they do best - having fun on the tennis court - and pulled out the second set in a tiebreaker. That won the duo the No. 2 doubles championship of the Morris County Tournament and helped Chatham win its third straight MCT girls tennis team title.
Jen McCann and Abby Morgan are the TAP into Chatham Athletes of the Week.
"We had a lot of energy in the first set and we brought that energy back to win the tiebreaker," Morgan said. "Mendham is one of our biggest competitors. We were nervous, but we knew we could do it."
The result was a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over the top-seeded second doubles team, Olivia McCarthy and Caitlin Fischer of Mendham.
"They're great together," Chatham tennis coach James Cai said of McCann and Morgan. "The chemistry between these two is phenomenal. Abby is a great athlete and Jen is very patient and has good hands at the net; she knows how to play doubles. They're just getting better and better every single match."
McCann and Morgan knew each other from their days attending St. Pat's, where they attended school through the fifth grade. They played played some basketball together, but didn't really cross paths much in high school. Yet, something just felt right when they were matched together as doubles partners.
"It was fun right away," McCann, a senior, said. "When he put us together our personalities clicked. It definitely helped our communication. We're not afraid to tell each other something we can do better."
It's been a very good year for Morgan, a junior who was a member of the Chatham girls lacrosse team that won the Morris County Tournament championship last spring. She brought her aggressiveness to the tennis partnership and McCann complemented her with her consistent play at the net.
"I knew she was a fierce competitor and that made me want to be one, too," McCann said. "I'm usually more kidding around than being really serious."
McCann's personality was a perfect fit since Morgan considers tennis the sport she can play in a less intense environment.
"I'm competitive with tennis, but mostly it's just fun," Morgan said. "There is pressure, but I see it as a way to relax. We don't stay angry when we mess up. We know it will just get worse if we don't forget it.
"Jen is really consistent and I learned from Jen from playing with her, especially the down-the-line shot. She taught me how to do that. We motivate each other."
McCann follows in the footsteps of her older sisters, Tara and Caroline, as members of the Chatham High girls varsity. She was a JV player until this year and her persistence helped her become the first in her family to win an MCT crown.
"I was having fun on JV and I knew this year I'd be on the varsity," said McCann, who also plays golf for CHS.
The communication between the two on the tennis court is the key to their success this season.
"Talking to each other really helps," McCann said. "We notice different things. Abby has a really strong shot and I do more placement with mine."
"Jen is really good at her backhand down the line," Morgan said.