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Drehere outlasts CHS in 4-3 marathon

Posted: March 20, 2014 11:02 a.m.
Updated: March 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Nearly four hours after it started, host Dreher was the one left standing as the Blue Devils outlasted visiting Camden, 4-3, in a Region 4-AAA boys’ tennis match played on a chilly Tuesday evening in Columbia.
The loss, in a contest in which Dreher won three of five matches which went to a third set tie-breaker, left the Bulldogs with an 0-3 mark in conference play.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a match with five third set tie-breakers,” said CHS head coach Roger Smoak. “I was really proud of our guys, though. Last year, we split with Dreher and they ran us off the court at their place. They lost just one starter from that team and we played them down to the wire.”
Camden won two singles matches and second doubles for its three victories. The Dogs’ Nelson Semple was able to hold off Evan Hamner at first singles in a 7-5, 2-6, 10-6 victory. Thomas deLoach took third singles by knocking off Reid Skeppstrom 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.
“Nelson just overpowered his guy,” Smoak said of Semple. “Thomas (deLoach) stepped up in this match and played with confidence and played like the old Thomas deLoach that we’re used to seeing.”
In second doubles, the Bulldog duo of Robert Lackey and K.P. Cassidy won their third consecutive match as the eighth-graders breezed past Zach Rue and Spencer Webester in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. “Robert and K.P. have really developed into a good doubles team,” Smoak said. “They complement each other real well out there.”
Camden’s losses started in second singles as Ben Goodrich fell to Nathan Hahn, 7-5, 4-6, 10-7. In third fourth singles, Ryan Mann tripped up Thomas Marshall in winning 2-6, 6-4, 4-10. Dreher’s Daniel Brown closed singles by holding off Wilson Pope by identical 7-5 scores.
In the deciding first singles match, Dreher’s Hamner and Hahn rallied from a 6-2 loss in the first set to win 6-0 in the second and 10-5 in the tie-breaker over Semple and Goodrich.
What disappointed Smoak more than anything was that after the Bulldogs won the first set, they let the second one and the tie-breaker slip away on too many occasions. “Maybe, our new motto should be one word, ‘Finish,’” he said. “For us, it’s a matter of learning how to finish.
“I always preach to them that we never let up and we never give up. When we get ahead of people, we need to be able to put them away.”
One positive which the CHS head coach said he took from this match was that his team did not have as many unforced errors in playing what Smoak said was their best match of the season. He also was impressed with his players’ not using the conditions as an excuse for the loss.
“Our kids were down. They really wanted to win this match. It hurt them to lose, which was good to see,” he said. “I told them at Camden High School, we don’t have moral victories in tennis. We’re used to winning five-set matches, but it’s still a loss.”

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