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CHS netters top L-E, 5-1

Posted: April 26, 2013 12:03 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2013 5:00 a.m.

For the Camden tennis team, this was their playoff. For Lugoff-Elgin, Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Bulldogs was a tune-up for the Demons’ second straight state 4A post-season appearance.
In avenging a 4-2 loss at L-E earlier this season, Roger Smoak’s troops closed out an 11-5 season. For the Demons and head coach Edward Rickwood, who at 11-7 are in the midst of the program’s best season, they will live to fight another battle as L-E opens the 4A state tournament with a trip to meet Lexington on Tuesday.
Smoak said his team came out ready after having lost to their cross-river rivals once this season.  But after seeing his team have several sluggish performances after spring break, he was concerned about this pairing with the Demons.
“We’ve been talking about trying to finish strong and be playing our best tennis at the end of the season,” Smoak said after career win number 584. “This was our best all-around match as far as our entire team goes. And, to have that in our last match of the season against L-E was special. Maybe, our guys were saving it up for this match.
“It’s a good feeling to be able to go out with a win, which is something we haven’t been able to do in a long time because we were in the playoffs. I’m hoping that this will show our kids how well they can play and encourage them to work on their games in the off-season.”
Rickwood was as gracious in defeat as he was after his team topped Camden in their first meeting, saying he knew the hosts would be ready for the Demons on Thursday.
“We were not outmatched, but we were outplayed,” he said.  “Camden had better control of the net, and they took advantage when the opportunity presented itself. Coach Smoak’s players put themselves in the position to win. Their victory was well deserved.”
The Demons scored their win at first singles with Hunter Horton handing Camden senior Roderick Todd a loss in his final match, 6-1, 6-3. “It’s no disgrace for Roger to lose to Hunter Horton, who is a tournament player,” Smoak said of his lone senior and the Demons’ freshman number one player. “Roderick has had a fine career here and should not be ashamed of losing to a player like Hunter.”
The Dogs won the rest of the pairings, starting with Nelson Semple stopping Hunter Johnson by identical 6-3 scores in second singles. Ben Goodrich then defeated Justin Tillman, 6-3, 6-1, in third singles before Thomas deLoach outlasted Austin Coles 7-6 (10-4), 6-3 at number four. Robert Lackey closed singles action by downing Samuel Couilliet, 6-3, 6-3.
Camden’s second doubles tandem of Charlie Nash and Thomas Marshall combined to stop L-E’s Nathan Tyson and Chance Sheorn, 7-5, 6-2.
Smoak said that in order for a tennis team to be successful, it meeds to play with a combination of head, heart and feet. On Thursday, he said his team displayed all three --- especially solid footwork --- better than in any match this season.
Smoak, the state’s winningest tennis coach, also wished the Demons the best of luck in the state tourney.
“What L-E has done has been pretty remarkable in competing with the likes of Irmo and Spring Valley,” Smoak said. “They are really coming on and it’s a real rivalry now with good sportsmanship. Ed (Rickwood) has done a great job with L-E and I look for that to continue.”

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