NEW PORT RICHEY — For the second consecutive season, the Land O'Lakes girls are headed to the region tournament, but this trip did not come easy.
The Gators won a three-way tiebreaker Wednesday against Leesburg and Central to earn the runnerup spot behind Class 3A, District 6 champ Zephyrhills. Both schools advance to Tuesday's play; Zephyrhills will host and Land O'Lakes will travel.
On the boys side, Land O'Lakes stopped Springstead from earning its first district title in school history. At 3-2 going into doubles, the Gators' Colin Roller and David Dollbaum won 8-3 to clinch the crown as both teams advance.
But the Land O'Lakes-Central girls match turned into a marathon. The Gators were ahead in three of the five singles matches when Bears players rallied to lead in four of the five.
Linzi Arndt, battling a right quad injury, led 6-3 at No. 1 singles, but Central's Annegret Schewe tied it at 6. Arndt played through the pain and won 8-6.
The Gators' Kawa Avancha (No. 2) beat Danielle Daly 8-4, but the Bears answered with victories from Nicole Carrier (No. 3) and Brittany Blackburn (No. 4).
At No. 5 Land O'Lakes' Anne Schwartz prevailed 10-8 over Central's Jordan Stenholm.
"Anne's match really turned the tide for us," said Gators coach Samantha Taylor said, "and then the girls stepped in the No. 1 doubles."
Land O'Lakes sisters Linzi and Cori Arndt topped Schewe and Carrier 8-4 to clinch the berth.