CHATHAM, NJ - Standing at 99-16 in his career, Chatham girls tennis coach James Cai is sure to pass the 100-win mark in 2019.
More impressive than the victory total is that Cai enters his seventh season as the Chatham coach having won the Morris County Tournament in each of his six previous seasons. Can his team roll a hard seven with a young team?
"This will be a year to rebuild for our team as we lost a few starters from graduation," Cai said. "However, the team will be replenished with three incoming freshmen, who will be competing for the doubles spots on the team.
"What's good is that we've created a winning legacy here. We have to see how strong our opponents are to see if we have a chance (at the MCT). We have the potential to do well."
Junior Libby White returns as one of the veterans of the team. She won 17 matches and was an MCT finalist at second singles in 2018. White will move into the No. 1 singles spot this year, having worked on improving her strength and spin shots over the summer.
"I'm excited," White said. "I think it's going to be challenging, but fun. We just have to work as a team. It should be interesting with the new players. We have to support each other in all of our matches in order to do well.
"I worked on my forehand and backhand. I want to have more spin, hit the ball harder and place it better."
Junior Sydney Berkson returns after a strong showing in 2018 in which she won 14 doubles matches and teamed up with Emma Sheldon to win the Morris County Championship at second doubles. With Sheldon's graduation, Berkson will have a new partner this year.
Also returning is sophomore Cameron Sims, who will hold down the third singles spots for the second straight year where she won 12 matches in 2018.
The freshmen talent added to the team includes Nora Wiekert, Sarah Fidora and Siena Wong. Wiekert has won the second-singles position and Fidora and Wong will play doubles.
Chatham opens its season on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at West Morris.