It was not easy by any means, but the girls soccer team managed to play through the pain and the rain, earning a fourth consecutive state championship with a 2-0 victory over Ponte Vedra High School.
The first three quarters of the game were fairly uneventful, with few good scoring chances and very little controversy. During the second half however, the weather interrupted the game as it began pouring. The game continued in the rain for about 20 minutes, but was eventually stopped due to lightning in the area.
After the brief lightning delay, the game resumed and the excitement began. The chances began piling up for the Patriots and an individual effort from freshman midfielder Marlee Fray put the Patriots on the board. Fray pulled up and cut towards the middle of the field in an effort to try to shake off her defender. She then fired a shot from 20 yards out, curving it into the top right corner for the state championship-winning goal.
After that, it was all about defense, as the Patriots did everything they could to keep the ball as far away from their goal as possible. This tough defense led to a breakaway goal for the Patriots and eventually another state championship.
This is the fourth consecutive state championship for the team, meaning that the seniors who have played since freshman year finish their high school career having won a state championship every season. “Winning a state championship four years in a row is the best feeling ever. I’m so proud of this team and I feel so lucky to be champions again and make American Heritage history,” said senior Midfielder Alexandra Soree.
In addition to this being the fourth consecutive state championship for the Patriots, it is also an addition to state history. With this victory, the girls team became only the fourth team in state history to win four consecutive state championships. They have also won 20 playoff games in a row, with their last lost coming in 2012, when Ponte Vedra got the best of them.
The road to this championship was not easy, however, as the Patriots have dealt with serious injuries all season. Senior midfielder Dara Magdaleno, the recent American University commit, was sidelined with a torn ACL. Fellow seniors Dejah Cason and Soree played through a severely sprained arm and blood clots in the leg, respectively. The injuries caused the coach, Cindy Marcial, to switch up some positions and use a more conservative formation, keeping more people back on defense to ensure consistent coverage.
The plan worked and the Patriots head back on the bus with wet jerseys, big smiles, and a brand new state championship trophy.