Coach Cindy Marcial and the Lady Patriots soccer team will bring home the state title once again after clinching their eleventh state championship in team history and defeating the Gulf Breeze Dolphins 2-1 in the FHSAA Class 3A State Championship. The win capped off the team’s 21-1 season and marked its first title game appearance since the 2012-2016 seasons, where the team was crowned victorious four years in a row.
Coming off of a defensive battle in the district championship versus the Pines Charter Jaguars, the Lady Patriots found themselves in another low-scoring standoff Friday night against the 22-2 Dolphins.
Though both squads remained scoreless through the first half, the Patriots were able to capture some momentum early in the second behind senior forward Chloe Laureano’s goal on a penalty kick in the forty-fourth minute. Gulf Stream then responded in the sixty-second minute off of a free kick to knot up the game at 1-1.
The Lady Patriots quickly regained the lead when senior forward Taylor Dobles put Heritage up 2-1 with her goal in the seventy-first minute. After taking command of the game once again, Heritage never looked back and held the Dolphins scoreless in the remaining minutes to secure their championship victory.
The Patriots, having outlasted Gulf Breeze, have won the second most titles in state history with eleven total and their first championship since becoming the fourth team to win four straight titles three seasons ago.
Overcome with emotion after winning her fifth state title, Coach Marcial credited her team for coming through for the team’s first championship victory in two years. “Every time it feels like the first time I’ve won; It’s a great feeling. I’m so proud of my girls; they never gave up and played with their hearts.”