NEW PORT RICHEY — As the sun and temperatures descended in west Pasco early Tuesday evening, Doug Howery's spirits didn't.
The River Ridge girls coach still will be taking some players to next week's state tournament in Altamonte Springs.
The Royal Knights' quest for a berth in the Class 3A team tournament, not to mention an undefeated season, ended in dramatic fashion on a windy afternoon on their home courts Tuesday with a 4-3 loss to New Smyrna Beach. Needing only a win in one of the two doubles matches, the Knights dropped both.
"It was a great season," said Howery, whose club finished 15-1. "At this stage of the game you're going to play teams that are pretty solid."
Nature Coast (15-1) dropped a 4-3 decision to Lecanto in 2A when the Sharks' No. 2 doubles team of Katie Stellpflug and Kaitlin Bugden lost in a third-set tie-breaker.
Junior Rachel Conter and sophomore Olivia Williams won at No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively, and also prevailed at No. 1 doubles. As a district No. 1 singles champ, Conter advances to next week's state tournament and will play doubles with Williams.
Advancing to the 3A tourney is Royal Knights freshman district champ Tijana Subotic, who also will play doubles with senior Kristin Greenup. Subotic, who hadn't lost a set all season, fell in straight sets Tuesday to New Smyrna Beach senior Chelsey Lynn.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Wiregrass Ranch's season ended with a 6-1 loss at Citrus in a 2A semifinal. The Bulls, who finished 10-4 in only their second season, got a win at No. 2 singles from sophomore Amber Fahrner.