On Thursday, it was a hat trick by Martha Thomas that led American Heritage to a playoff win. This time, it was a golden sombrero by Melanie Monteagudo, as the Patriots rolled passed Merritt Island 4-0 in the Region 4-3A final at Heritage Tuesday night.
The Patriots will host a state semifinal game Friday against the Osceola/Riverdale winner. The Patriots have outscored their first three playoff opponents, 18-0.
Tensions were high in this battle as the team’s met last season in the regional finals, a 4-1 Heritage win. Last season, Heritage players dealt with highly unruly fans at Merritt Island and a very physical team. Tuesday night was no different as the fans traded barbs. One fan from Merritt Island took a horn out of a Heritage student’s hand and broke it.
But Heritage had the last laugh again behind the play of Monteagudo. She scored 14 minutes in on an assist from Megan Menocal for a 1-0 lead. The two hooked up again in the 50th minute off a corner kick. Menocal hit Monteagudo with a short corner pass and Monteagudo finished it off giving the Patriots a 2-0 lead.
She struck again in the 62nd minute on a crossing pass and went middle high beating the Mustangs goalie. She made it four goals in the 72nd minute on a shot from 35 yards out bringing the home crowd to its feet.
“Not like this important, four goals yeah, but not in a game this big,” Monteagudo said. “Their fans are nasty. Their whole team is nasty, not much sportsmanship, but you have to block that out and play your game.”
Coach Cindy Marcial was very proud of her team’s performance against a tough opponent with high emotions on the field and in the stands.
“Mo-mo, in the past couple of games, I’ve seen her mature so much. She’s naturally an awesome player and now that she’s seeing the field more and passing more, she’s just amazing,” Marcial said. “The main thing for us was to stay focused, worry about our game and not worry about what’s going on. We keep our composure.”
• Region 4-5A final — Miami Lourdes 2, Cypress Bay 0: After a 2-0 loss to Miami Lourdes in a Class 5A regional final, Cypress Bay coach Kate Dwyer said her team was overwhelmed, especially early.
“[The Bobcats] were flying at us,” Dwyer said. “Those first 20 minutes, my girls were like, ‘Oh, my God, what do I do?’”
Lourdes (19-2) got a goal in the second minute, scoring on Bailey Plummer’s header off of an assist by Amanda Delgado.
The score remained 1-0 for the next 76 minutes as Lourdes held much of the possession with its speed and superior size.
In the 78th minute, Plummer was taken down in the box by Cypress Bay goalie Samara Stolzenberg, who was hit with a yellow card.
Sophia Portuondo converted on the ensuing free kick, placing a low shot to the left corner to put the finishing touches on the Lourdes win.
“You don’t call that at the level, not with two minutes left,” Dwyer said. “They are already winning 1-0. [Our girls were] exhausted. That’s why [Stolzenberg] fell. She didn’t clip her. Regardless, they were still winning.”
Dwyer said Cypress Bay (17-3-3) settled down after the shaky start.
“In the second half, we dominated, but we couldn’t put the ball in the net,” she said. “That’s been our weakness all year. We’ve only gotten scored on four times, but we sure … haven’t beaten many teams more than 1-0 or 2-0.
“Against quality teams, we are not a quality scoring team.”
With just seconds remaining in the game, Cypress Bay’s Sari Kruetzer suffered an apparent knee injury. The Lightning had already lost two starters with knee injuries earlier in the season.
“I’m very proud of these girls,” Dwyer said. “I’ve known some of these girls since they were 7 years old, and I first started coaching.”
• Region 4-1A final — Marathon 4, South Florida HEAT 1: Kristi Isabelle scored the only goal, unassisted, for the HEAT in the first half. They finished off the season with a 17-6-5 record overall.