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For their own good
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NEW PORT RICHEY - The only thing more impressive than River Ridge claiming its third consecutive district title Friday was Land O'Lakes earning it 15th consecutive berth to the region quarterfinals.
The Royal Knights beat the Gators 1-0 for a season sweep. But Land O'Lakes walked off the field with something that seemed unlikely after a 3-7-2 start to the season.
"I think we were a lot different of a team than they expected us to be," Land O'Lakes coach Vicky King said. "We've come a real long way."
A young group of Gators gained confidence along the way, finishing 9-2 since Dec. 14 to earn at least one more game. King felt her Gators 12-9-2 played their best game of the season Friday, which was reflected with a scoreless break at the half.
Knights coach Skip Glover felt his girls controlled the pace but missed several scoring opportunities before breaking through in the 46th minute.
A corner kick from senior Corina Dyl sailed in front of the net, where midfielder Kaleigh Patri flipped it to freshman Jenny Karl, who scored.
Glover's focus quickly turned to next week's match, knowing River Ridge (17-1-2) would face either Newsome or Bloomingdale. The Bulls knocked the Knights out in last year's region quarterfinal 5-1.
Newsome knocked out Land O'Lakes 3-0.
"The other district we face is really good," Glover said. "We haven't been successful against those teams the last couple of years."