Chatham’s first doubles team of Emily Sroczynski and Alison Ramsland felt right at home on Monday.
Playing on their home court in the North 2, Group III final against rival Mendham, the Cougars’ duo avenged a loss to the Minutemen’s Stefanie Elling and Charlie Trinco in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Girls Doubles Tournament down at Mercer County Park just two days prior. Their 6-2, 6-3 victory at first doubles broke a 1-1 deadlock and helped propel Chatham to a 4-1 win over Mendham and a sectional championship.
Chatham also won its first Morris County Tournament title in 13 years back in late September.
As a result of Monday’s win, Chatham will head for the group championships on Thursday at Mercer County Park in West Windsor where they will attempt to capture the Group III title and earn a berth in the Tournament of Champions. They are scheduled to open play against the Group III champion from Central Jersey at 9 a.m.
“We were just more confident this time around, especially playing on our home court,” said Sroczynski. “This was the third time we played them and we wanted to win the deciding match, especially after they beat us at the doubles tournament.”
After losing in three sets to Elling and Trinco at the state doubles tournament, Sroczynski and Ramsland had their game faces on yesterday, never allowing the Mendham pair to win a key game or a big point when they needed it most.
“We were more consistent today and definitely more composed,” Ramsland said. “And we had the support of our team here too.”
Sroczynski and Ramsland weren’t the only players to win a rubber match against a top rival on Monday. Chatham freshman Scarlett Blydenburgh tallied the decisive third point in yesterday’s match when she defeated Mendham’s Lauren Hassell at first singles, 6-2, 6-3. Hassell beat Blydenburgh in their first meeting of the season before Blydenburgh rallied for a three-set victory in the Morris County Tournament final.
“I was more confident playing her today because of the win in the county tournament,” Blydenburgh said. “I knew what she was going to try to do from the time she stepped on the court. It was also important for me to win the first set this time.
“This is all new to me and my first time going to the groups. I have a lot of confidence in my team and I think we can do well there.”
Chatham’s second doubles team of Katie Howard-Johnson and Laurel Hickey got things rolling for the home team with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Mendham’s Alexandra Smith and Jennifer Kloehn. The Minutemen evened the match at 1-1 when two-time defending Morris County Tournament third singles champion Katie Gutknecht posted a straight-set victory over Chatham’s Bridgett Hickey.
But the tide quickly turned in favor of the Cougars.
Moments after Sroczynski and Ramsland put the home team back on top, Blydenburgh sealed the victory with her singles win over Hassell.
With the team match and sectional title already decided, Chatham freshman Sophia Fredriksson rallied from 2-5 down in the second set to post a 7-5, 7-6 (1) victory over Mendham’s Lauren Hernandez at third singles to earn the home team its fourth point of the match.