The Clearwater Central Catholic girls advanced to today's Class A region final at Tampa Prep by defeating Lakeland Christian 4-2 on Wednesday.
The Marauders, the District 7 runnersup, jumped to a 3-0 lead by winning the Nos. 1-3 singles matches. Isabella Dohse won at No. 1, 6-3, 6-1. Ying Chen won at No. 2 singles 6-3, 6-1 and Katherine Yang won at No. 3, 6-2, 6-4. Dohse and Chen then teamed to win No. 1 doubles 6-0, 6-2 and secure the win for the Marauders after Lakeland Christian tightened things up.
Lakeland Christian sixth-grader Katie Nelson, playing at No. 5, won a 10-5 tiebreaker after splitting sets with CCC's Isabella Collares-Williams 6-1, 3-6. And freshman Blake Bellar, at No. 4, pulled out a 7-5, 7-6 (10-8) win over Delaney Abood to leave CCC with a 3-2 lead.
"It was really an exciting match at No. 5," CCC coach Brett Hayman said. "The girls were really closely matched. It could've been a little easier day, but they (Lakeland Christian) fought. They deserved to win at No. 5 and No. 4, and it made the match more exciting."
4A: Plant ousts East Lake girls, Countryside boys
TAMPA — The Plant girls continued their quest for a fourth straight state title with a 4-1 win against East Lake.
No. 1 Erica Oosterhout (6-3, 6-4), No. 2 Gabrielle Rodriguez (6-3, 6-7, 6-3), No. 4 Lauren Corcoran (6-0, 6-1) and No. 5 Korina Hernandez (6-1, 6-1) all won their singles matches. No. 3 Rehaana Butt defeated Plant's Monica Phipps 6-0, 6-3 for East Lake's only victory of the day.
Rodriguez led Kimberly Herrock 4-1 in the second set before Herrock got back into the match. But Rodriguez's match, which lasted more than 2 1/2 hours when it went to a third set, gave Plant the deciding point, allowing the Panthers to forgo doubles.
"Honestly, it was just all about mental toughness," Rodriguez said. "It's always good to be the clinching match."
On the boys side, Plant beat Countryside 4-1, with No. 1 Alec Josepher (6-4, 6-1), No. 3 Thomas Harmon (6-4, 6-2), No. 4 Connor Jones (6-1, 6-4) and No. 5 Evan Vancavage (6-3, 7-5) winning for the Panthers. No. 2 Aaron Carey won the lone match for Countryside.
Class 3A boys: Hillsborough came up short against Lakeland, falling 4-3.
The teams split two singles and two doubles matches, then Lakeland's Charlie Gardner and Hillsborough's Ben Muschol split the first two sets at No. 3 singles. Muschol broke Gardner to win the first game of the deciding set but suffered leg cramps in the second game and had to retire.
"We survived," said Lakeland coach Justin Troller. "You hate to win like that."
Hillsborough coach Leslie Kennard said her team was disappointed.
"Unfortunately, his body just gave out," Kennard said. "But I'm proud of all of them. They worked incredibly hard."
Times staff writer Kelly Parsons and information from the Lakeland Ledger contributed to this report.