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CHS netters outlast Red Foxes, 4-3

Posted: September 13, 2012 3:31 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2012 5:00 a.m.

It took going to first doubles, but the Camden High girls’ tennis team collected their first win of the season with a 4-3 victory over host Hartsville in a Wednesday match which started in the afternoon and was not completed until past 8 p.m.
The former region foes played two back-and-forth matches a season ago and this year was no different as the match was not decided until the top doubles team left the court. 
Camden first singles’ player, senior Katie Tiller, set the tone early with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Carley Phillips to open the match. Number three player, Virginia Beth Ariail, was the second CHS player off the singles court claiming a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Lindsey Godwin. 
“We typically rely on Tiller to get a ‘W’ and right now, Virginia Beth is playing about as well as anyone,” said Lady Bulldogs’ head coach Stephen Sutusky. “If (Ariail) stays consistent this team can go a long way.”
With two wins in the first two matches to finish, Camden needed two more victories to claim an outright win or, one to force the top doubles team onto the court. Helen Koutroulakis and Sarah Anne Semple, playing at four and five singles, respectively, could not muster victories despite strong efforts. The CHS second doubles team consisting of sophomores Virginia Lackey and Clarke Allen continued to improve, but could not win either of the two sets that were played. 
“With Kelsey Williams out of the lineup this week, it has put more pressure on everyone else since Helen is playing up a spot,” Sutusky said. “Helen has held her own; but she’ll be a more consistent player once Kelsey comes back from illness.” 
The top match of the night pitted Hartsville’s Ashley Light versus Camden junior Madison Hudson.  In what was a marathon match at second singles, Hudson prevailed with a 7-5, 6-4 win. 
“Madison, like many of our girls, is battling sinus and cold problems, but she really dug deep and pulled out a tough, gritty win,” said Sutusky. 
That set the stage for the tandem of Tiller and Hudson to take the court against Hartsville’s Phillips and Light.  The Lady Bulldogs’ pairing dropped the first game in the first set before cruising to a 6-3 set win.  In the second set, Tiller and Hudson went to the lead and never looked back, quickly earning a 6-2 win to clinch the team victory.
“Katie and Madison know the task at hand when we play doubles and we count on them to lead us to victory. Tonight was another example of that,” Sutusky said. 
CHS carried a 1-3 record into Thursday’s Region 4-AAA opener against A.C. Flora. Sutusky said a tough string of early matches has prepared his squad for the rigors of conference play.
“We faced some tough AAAA schools the first couple weeks and that schedule made us tougher and now, we are ready to make strides and take off,” he said. 

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