The Ponte Vedra girls’ soccer team finished the 2015-16 season in bittersweet fashion last Thursday evening in Melbourne. For the fourth straight season the Sharks advanced to the state final—an incredible achievement. Unfortunately, so also did their nemesis American Heritage Plantation and the result was a 2-0 defeat for Ponte Vedra, the fourth straight defeat at the hands of the private Ft Lauderdale school.
The Sharks earned the honor of playing once again in the title game buy defeating Merritt Island 2-1 on Wednesday evening. Julie Worman put the Sharks in front early on a penalty kick at the 26-minute mark of the first half that the Merritt keeper could not handle. Then Angeline Daly booted home the winning goal from nearly 25 yards out three minutes into the second half. The Sharks controlled possession as they defended their slim lead for the remainder of the game; but it took a good save by Hannah Suder with 41 seconds left to clinch it.
The title game was as close as everyone expected it to be. Rain and a lightning delay added to the tension, as neither team was able to mount a serious threat. Daly had the Sharks best opportunity on a long range arcing shot that the Patriot keeper leaped high to deflect.
With eight minutes left in regulation play, Heritage had a similar opportunity and converted what proved to be the winning goal. The Patriots’ Marlee Fray’s long arcing shot from the left side found the top right corner of the cage. It was a perfect shot, one in which Suder had no chance. Unfortunately for the Sharks it was the title-winning goal.
It was a disappointing outcome for all the Sharks, but especially for the eight seniors who earned the honor of representing their school in the state title game four straight seasons. Their disappointment should be softened considering only two teams have done that. Those two teams played each other in Melbourne this past Thursday.