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CHS netters extend win streak to three matches

Posted: March 25, 2014 11:22 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Don’t look now, but after a 1-3 start to the season, the Camden High tennis team is now above the .500 mark for the first time this season after a 5-1 dismantling of host Hartsville in Monday’s non-region match played in Darlington County.
The win was the third straight for the Bulldogs (4-3) and gave head coach Roger Smoak his 588th victory at the helm of the program. Last week, Camden scored 6-0 wins over both Blythewood and Westwood.
Given that this pairing was played on a Monday and versus a Red Fox squad which CHS did not play last spring, had Smoak a bit apprehensive on the ride to the Hartsville courts.
“I really didn’t know what they had this year,” Smoak said of the hosts who have 19 players in their program. “I don’t think that our kids were totally ready to play with this match being on a Monday. We ended up playing pretty well for this match being played on the road against a pretty good team.
“But we didn’t play as well as we could play. The match should not have been as close as it was.”
Camden first singles player Nelson Semple got an eye-opener in dropping his first set to eighth-grader Dalton Capobianco, 3-6. The Bulldog junior rallied to win the second set, 6-0, before taking the tie-breaker, 10-7.
“Their first singles player is a backboard. He returned everything Nelson hit,” Smoak said of Capobianco. “After that first set, Nelson figured him out and overpowered him in the second set and in the tie-breaker.”
Ben Goodrich outlasted Weston Light in second singles, winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, before Thomas deLoach swept past Kameron Skinner in third singles, 6-0, 6-1. Thomas Marshall did not have much of a problem in fourth singles in handing Cameron Copeland a pair of 6-3 setbacks.
The CHS second doubles tandem of Robert Lackey and K.P. Cassidy extended their win streak to five straight as they knocked off James Teal and Marcus Johnson, 6-1, 6-3.
Camden’s lone loss came at fifth singles in which Wilson Pope came out on the short end of a 6-3, 0-6, 6-10 decision versus Hunter Purvis.
“Our guys were not as consistent as they needed to be but they bore down then they had to,” Smoak said after the match. “But I’m pleased to get the win. Anytime you go on the road and win against anybody, you have to be pleased with that.”
Smoak said that he did not feel the Bulldogs played their best in last Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Blythewood. In that contest, he said, his team was not as consistent as they should have been in some matches versus an outmanned opponent.
“Blythewood had a lot of young guys,” Smoak said of the shutout win. “They are starting over.”
Such was not the case a day later in a 6-0 Region 4-AAA win over Westwood.
“We played better against Westwood than we did against Blythewood,” Smoak said of the win over a first-year Redhawks’ program. “Usually, we don’t play well when we face a team like that. We only lost one game the entire match”
Now that his team is over the .500 mark, Smoak said the Bulldogs need to keep playing well heading into Thursday’s important conference pairing at Chapin.
“Our goal is to win all three of our matches this week (including Tuesday’s scheduledcontest with Sumter),” Smoak said, “and get some momentum that we are going to need as we go into our important conference matches.”

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