COLONIA, NJ - Chatham came into the second round of the NJSIAA Group 3 state girls volleyball tournament as the No. 18 seed and the decided underdog on the road against No. 2 seed Colonia.
The Cougars departed the tournament as the team that pushed Colonia, the No. 11-ranked team in the state by NJ.com, to three sets in a 21-25, 25-21,15-25 setback on Thursday.
The third set was an uphill climb for the Cougars once Colonia go ahead. Every time Chatham (15-10) seemed to gain some momentum, Colonia (24-3) managed to "dig" themselves out of trouble. In fact, the Colonia stat sheet counted 75 digs accumulated by the Patriots over the three sets.
"They're just defensively a very disciplined team," Chatham coach Anna Amster said. "Even if you think the ball is down, it pops right out. We knew that coming in and I think we did a good job of keeping with them. Taking a team like that to three sets is good. It's not the result we wanted, but the girls played hard and it was a good season. Now we start to prepare for next season."
In the first set, Colonia built a 13-5 lead before Chatham fought back to cut its deficit to 21-23.
The highlight for Chatham was its second-set win. The set was tied at 15-15 when Laura Macri's block gave Chatham a 16-15 edge. A few minutes later, Macri's kill for side out (see below) tied it up at 17-17.
Eesha Nagpal followed with a service ace for Chatham and Lauren Burke hit a kill (see below) off a set by Brenda Jaroker to put the Cougars in front to stay.
Nagpal served up another ace and Burke later knocked down a kill to give Chatham a 24-18 advantage before Issy Shaw hit the winning shot off a set by Jaroker (see below).
This is the kind of effort Chatham put forth to win a point in the first set, starting with Greta Luria's diving one-handed dig
Eesha Nagpal's dig and hit helped Chatham gain a point
Libero Greta Luria hits one of her right-handed spin shots for a winner