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          On spring break trip, no southern comfort

          Joseph Kachovec

          Issue date: 3/19/10 Section: Sports
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          At 6 a.m on Friday, March 5, both the men's and women's tennis teams departed Cleveland for a spring break trip to Charleston, S.C.

          Getting up at that hour was the least of the Spartans' challenges over the break - they would go on to compete against tough, Division I opponents. The matches were held at the College of Charleston and The Citadel. Tough competition came as no surprise for the team. Coach Todd Wojtkowski's scheduling strategy involves scheduling equal numbers of teams that are inferior, equal, and superior to the Spartans in talent.

          The men's team fell, 6-1, to East Carolina, 7-0 to The Citadel, and 6-1 to James Madison. The two lone victories posted on the men's side came from senior John Smetona, including a come-from-behind victory against James Madison's Mike Smith. With his two victories over break, Smetona is now 3-3 against top Division I opponents this year, improving on last year's mark of 0-4.

          The women's team also fell in all three matches, losing to UNC Charlotte, 6-1, Davidson, 5-2, and College of Charleston, 7-0.

          The highlight for the women's side was freshman Erika Lim winning her singles matches against both Charlotte and Davidson. The second win against Davidson came courtesy of junior Cheyenne Chambers defeating Molly Verlin in an entertaining three set match, 6-1, 1-6, 13-11.

          Both teams were forced to overcome challenges, included playing outdoors for the first time all year, as well as getting used to the 60 degree weather in S.C.

          But more importantly, the already tight-knit team had a chance to become even closer by having a week where they were free from the worries of school and could focus on tennis.

          "We were able to be well rested and to come out and play twice or even three times each day without worrying about classes or homework," said Smetona.

          A highlight for many of the underclassmen on the team was playing at the Kiawah Resort, where many players were able to play tennis on a clay surface for the first time.

          Though the trip did not result in any wins for either team, it was a good week to gain confidence for the upcoming outdoor season remarked, "We may not have won the matches but our players gained a ton of confidence learning how to compete and raise their level," said Wojtkowski.

          Both teams will go up against John Carroll University today at home at 4 p.m.
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