MELBOURNE -- American Heritage set out for redemption this season.
But Saturday morning, it wanted a little payback too.
The Patriots didn’t waste any time sending their message to Ponte Vedra — the team that denied them a state title in last year’s Class 3A final.
“We wanted to get in their heads early and let them know they weren’t going to win it this time,” American Heritage sophomore forward Melanie Monteagudo said.
Monteagudo scored twice and Alyssa Robinson added another as the Patriots scored three goals in the first 45 minutes of the match to beat Ponte Vedra 3-0 in the Class 3A state championship match at Melbourne High.
American Heritage (25-2) won its third state title in five seasons and seventh overall. The Patriots have won all their championships since 2000, and the total ranks second in state history to fellow Broward powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas (12).
American Heritage, which lost to Ponte Vedra (25-3-1) in penalty kicks last year at state, denied the Sharks what would have been their third championship in five seasons.
“This feels so much better than how we felt last year,” Robinson said. “It was a great team effort, and great because we had everyone contributing to the win.”
The Patriots capped a dominant postseason run that ended with an eight-game winning streak following a 2-0 loss to Miami Lourdes on Jan. 8.
During the streak, American Heritage outscored its opponents 44-0.
Monteagudo finished with a team-high 34 goals, and Robinson finished with 30 goals.
“That loss to Lourdes came at a time when we had played a lot of games in a short span and we were supposed to go on a road trip to play more,” American Heritage coach Cindy Marcial said. “We ended up cancelling the trip, and it was a good thing because we rested up and refreshed. We came out of that time a better team, and we never wanted to feel that way again.”
American Heritage outshot Ponte Vedra 17-2 and clearly exhibited greater skill from the outset of Saturday’s match, creating numerous scoring chances. The Sharks, who were starting three freshmen defenders, had no answer for American Heritage’s speed and technique.
Junior forward Martha Thomas created the most spectacular one of the game when she delivered a bicycle kick-style pass to Monteagudo, who angled the ball over Ponte Vedra goalie Kari Davidson for the first score with 33:16 left in the first half.
On another rush downfield, FIU-bound senior Alyssa Robinson fired a shot across the field from about 20 yards out that got past Davidson to give Heritage a 2-0 lead with 14:07 left.
The Patriots did not let up in the second half as Monteagudo surged near the Ponte Vedra goal and drew a foul inside the box. Moments later, Monteagudo converted the penalty shot with 35:35 left.
American Heritage’s physical defense took care of the rest, limiting the Sharks opportunities as goalkeeper recorded another shutout. The Patriots allowed only four goals the entire season.
“The whole season we always trained the girls on two-touch on possession of the ball,” Marcial said. “That’s why you saw they were able to make those kinds of plays out there.
“All our girls are talented and some of the top players in the country. I feel honored to be their coach. The best part is watching the way they play, because they all work hard for each other.”