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New-look Chapin edges Dogs, 4-3

Posted: March 28, 2014 11:22 a.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Fortunately or, unfortunately, Camden High tennis coach Roger Smoak knows how things work in regard to the tennis program at Chapin.
Just like when Smoak’s program was in its heyday, the Bulldogs simply re-loaded after losing a strong crop of seniors and got back to the business of winning the following spring.
For Chapin, the Eagles lost their entire rotation in singles last season. But the program keeps on ticking and on Thursday in Lexington County, Chapin handed Camden a 4-3 loss in a contest between two squads looking to stay in the Region 4-AAA title chase.
“If you weren’t a coach,” Smoak said after his team fell to 1-4 in conference matches, “you might have enjoyed this match. As a coach, this one was tough to lose.
“We were right there, which has been the story for us in the first half of the season. But we just couldn’t make it over the hill. I thought that we were going to pull (a win) off and beat Chapin for the first time.”
Camden struggled in first sets, losing six of seven. “We were terrible in the first set,” Smoak said. “We couldn’t get anything going.”
Nelson Semple overcame a 6-3 loss in the first set of first singles only to rebound to outlast Jason flowers by winning the second set, 6-1, and then the tie-breaker, 10-7.  Chapin took second and third doubles with Luke Layton stopping Ben Goodrich  in straight sets at second singles before Bailey Sawvell took a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Thomas deLoach 6-2, 6-3 at third singles.
Camden sophomore Thomas Marshall  gave the guests a shot in the arm with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win over Noah Kosko in fourth singles before Chapin’s  Chris Clampitt held off Wilson Pope  at fifth singles, 6-3, 6-4.
The Bulldogs’ second doubles pairing of Robert Lackey K.P. Cassidy extended their win streak to seven matches as they overcame a 6-2 first set loss to down Ryan Burton and Gavin Marler , 6-3, 10-8 in the second set and the third set tie-breaker.
Chapin took the deciding first doubles match with Flowers and Kosko outlasting Semple and Goodrich 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 11-9, to improve to 2-1 in 4-AAA matches.
“I was proud of the way that we came back and how we played in our second sets,” Smoak said. “In first doubles, we had match or set point, but we could not get that big serve or, that big point which we needed.
“I thought that we played well at times and were inconsistent at others in this match. I was proud of our team to fighting back and getting the match to first doubles,”
Smoak said that while Chapin has reloaded, the Eagles are a good team, but not as dominating as they have been in years past. He said he looks forward to the chance to play Chapin and all the other conference teams, for that matter, again in the second half of the season which begins today when Lugoff-Elgin comes to the CHS courts for a 4:30 p.m. non-conference pairing.
“We just have to get better,” Smoak said of his team’s goals for the second part of the season. “We have to go out and work hard and we want to go out and practice.
“We need to make it happen because when a bulldog’s back is against the wall, he comes out fighting. Right now, our backs are against the wall for a playoff spot and like a bulldog, our guys have to come out and fight. I expect our guys to do that because we have good kids on this team.”

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