CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls volleyball starting lineup has been a work in progress for coach Anna Amster as she searches for the best six players to match up against certain opponents.
"Like I said in the beginning of the year, we have a lot of talent," Amster said. "We're constantly seeing which lineup will be best, depending on which team we're facing."
Amster hit on the right combination Thursday when Chatham won a preliminary round Morris County Tournament match against Mountain Lakes in straight sets, 25-16 and 25-12.
Juniors Issy Shaw and Lauren Burke keyed the first-set win, fueling a seven-point streak that put the Cougars in front to stay at 12-7.
Burke's kill gave Chatham (6-6) side out for the start of the run that Shaw continued from the service line with three aces (see one below).
Burke chipped in with a block during the run and Shaw managed to hit a kill from the back row in capping the surge. Burke closed out the first set with a kill for side out and then followed with two of her own service aces for the clinching points.
Issy Shaw and Lauren Burke talked about the Chatham win
Laura Macri contributes a kill to the first-set win for Chatham
In the second set, Chatham held a 10-9 edge when Burke leaped for a drop shot over the Lakers' front line for side out. Greta Luria then served up an ace (see video below) and kills by Burke and Macri a little while later pushed the lead to 17-10.
Later in the set, Burke's kill and service ace handed the Cougars a 20-11 lead. Eesha Nagpal scored off her digging save to make it 23-12 before senior Naila Ismail celebrated her 18th birthday by serving on the final two points for the win.
"Our starting lineup may vary from day to day, depending on who is stepping up in practice and in games," Amster said. "So we're definitely moving people around to see who the best six will be as we continue to move forward."