Auburndale girls, Lakeland boys, advance to state

LAKELAND – Madison Newbern’s tennis season was wiped out last year thanks to a broken tibia she sustained just as the soccer season was transitioning into the tennis season.

One year later, she played a vital role in Auburndale High’s bid to reach the state tournament in girls tennis.

Newbern, after dropping the first set, rallied to win her No. 2 singles match then teamed with No. 1 singles player Peyton Battilla to win at No. 1 doubles. That match clinched Auburndale’s 4-2 win over Orlando Edgewater on Thursday night in the Class 3A region final and sent the Bloodhounds to next week’s state tournament.

Auburndale’s victory completed a Polk County sweep as Lakeland boys also defeated Edgewater, 4-2.

Auburndale's Peyton Battilla hits a serve during her No. 1 singles match against Orlando Edgewater on Thursday in the Class 3A region finals at the Beerman Family Tennis Center.

Battilla and Newbern had already qualified for state as they won at No. 1 doubles. Now they get to go as a team and will begin play on Monday at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

“Honestly, I’m more excited for the team going vs. me going as an individual,” said Battilla, who had qualified as an individual last season but lost in the district final this year. “It’s going to be a lot more fun. We’re doing it right. We’re going to state the old-fashioned way as a team. We’re getting the whole experience.”

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