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Focused Bulldogs do not suffer letdown against Gamecocks

Posted: March 13, 2012 2:07 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2012 5:00 a.m.

There had been times in the past when a Camden tennis team would play a lesser opponent, not take the match serious enough and battle their way through to a victory.
Not the case on Monday.
Playing an overmatched Sumter squad, the Bulldogs breezed to a 7-0 win over their 4A opponent to level their record at 2-2 on the season heading into a pair of tough non-conference road tests against Irmo and Wilson Hall over the next two afternoons.
“I was pleased that we concentrated a little better in this match than we normally do against a team which is not that strong and may not be up to our caliber,” said CHS head coach Roger Smoak. “I thought our guys went out there and played hard.
“Sumter has improved and has more players than they did last year; when we played them last season, they only had five or six players and they did not have enough players for a second doubles team.”
Monday also saw senior first singles player Jo Jo Tiller become the first player in school history to win 100 matches as he blanked Logan Hobson in a pair of 6-0 sets to lead the way for a top of the lineups which lost just five games in the first four singles’ pairings.
Roderick Todd breezed past Chris Galloway, 6-1, 6-0, in second singles while Nelson Semple handed Hunter Johnson a 6-2, 6-0 loss at third singles.
The Goodrich brothers would close out singles play. Davis, a senior, upended Bradley Watkins at fourth singles, 6-0, 6-2, before younger brother Ben, a sophomore, took care of Ryan Mathis by identical 6-2 scores in fifth singles. Team Goodrich then joined forces to defeat Galloway and Will Cockerill in first doubles, 8-0.
The Bulldogs’ second doubles pairing of freshman Thomas deLoach and Carlos Williams, an eighth-grader, hung on for a 4-6, 6-0, (11-9) victory over Edward Gamble and Greg Robinson in the lone close match of the day. In the second set, the Dogs’ tandem needed some 15 minutes to force a tie-breaker. Smoak said that happens with youth at this level.
“We continue to struggle at number two doubles,” Smoak said. “That is still a work in progress for us; we just don’t have a lot of experience there, but our kids are working hard to get better in doubles.”
CHS will head to Irmo this afternoon before traveling to Sumter to meet a Wilson Hall squad which dealt the Dogs a 4-2 setback in the second match of the season. Smoak said these two contests will be a barometer for the rest of the season for his team. A win in either, if not both of the pairings, would give Camden a shot of momentum heading into Region 6-AAA action which opens with a pair of conference matches which are on tap for next week.
“We’re looking for improvement each time we play. We have a whole lot of improving to do if we going to have a great season,” Smoak said.
“Our kids are coming together as a team and are playing hard. Now, we just have to start getting more consistency from them and, we’re getting there. That’s an encouraging sign.”

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