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Bulldogs shut down Dreher, 7-0

Posted: March 17, 2011 11:37 a.m.
Updated: March 18, 2011 5:00 a.m.

As he watched Dreher go through its pre-match warm-ups on Wednesday, Camden High tennis coach Roger Smoak thought to himself that the visiting Blue Devils were not all too impressive.

By day’s end, after his team posted a 7-0 shutout, the play of the visitors had changed Smoak’s way of thinking.

"Down the line, they played us pretty well. They’re a pretty tough team," Smoak said after his troops improved to 4-0 on the season with the non-region win. "But I thought that our guys did a real good job. This was a good match for us."

The Dogs received three victories from their top two singles players, Jo Jo Tiller and Roderick Todd. Tiller blanked Noah Ballou, 6-0, 6-0, while Todd had an easy go of it against Evan Hanner at second singles, winning, 6-1, 6-0. Tiller and Todd then joined forces to take down Ballou and Hanner in first doubles.

"We’ve really come to depend on Jo Jo and Roderick to get us wins every time out at the top of our lineup," Smoak said. "They are playing good tennis and they have been a real strength for our team. We can always count on our top two guys going out and getting us two or three points every match."

Micah Thomas battled back from an ankle injury to down Ed Shannon, 6-1, 6-2, at third singles before Nelson Semple was extended to a second-set tie-breaker as he knocked off Nathan Hahn, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1). Davis Goodrich closed out singles action scoring a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Bates Downey.

"I didn’t know if we would have Micah for this match because he sprained an ankle. Micah is playing good tennis for us. He’s a very strong number three players," Smoak said.

"Nelson has been very steady for us this season. We always knew he had the ability, but he was inconsistent, at times, last year. This season, his consistency has been very impressive. And, Davis got off to a late start after running cross-country in the fall. His consistency has also been real impressive. He is really coming around for us at number five."

In second doubles, the CHS tandem of Ben Goodrich and Thomas deLoach outlasted Taylor Jackson and Ravic Sachania 7-5, 6-7 (10-8) 10-4, as the Dogs’ second pairing --- which has also included Brian Williams --- at times, improved to 4-0.

"What has been a pleasant, but not a complete surprise, for us this year has been our second doubles team," Smoak said. "We’re rotating three players there and they have all really stepped it up for us.

"Last year, we finished below .500 for the season in second doubles. All three players are working very hard and are showing a lot of improvement in doubles. Their play has been very exciting for us this year."

Smoak also pointed out that Shamel Rose, an eighth-grader, is champing at the bit to make his debut. "I don’t know when I’ve seen a player work harder in practice than Shamel," he said. "He’s coming along real well and he’s going to be ready to play in a match pretty soon."

Smoak said that the season is young and that his team still has a long way to go. "We’re not nearly there, yet," he said. "Everybody still has to keep improving."

The Dogs will open their Region 6-AAA campaign next Tuesday when they travel to Hartsville. A year ago, CHS drilled the Red Foxes in Camden before HHS played much better, winning four times as many games on their home courts as they did in their meeting in Camden.

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