Commentary

Melbourne stands alone as No. 1 in Florida

Updated: February 18, 2009, 4:40 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.) and Melbourne (Fla.) entered last week's Florida girls' soccer state tournament with undefeated records and a case for the state's overall No. 1 ranking.

Now, Melbourne stands alone.

Melbourne won the Florida Class 6A state title with a 3-0 victory over perennial state power Douglas (Parkland).

George Jenkins, which held the nation's longest current undefeated streak at 58 matches, lost 3-1 in the Class 5A state final to University (Palm Harbor) on a pair of late goals. Cardinal Gibbons was stunned by first-year school Ponte Vedra on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in the Class 4A final.

The weekend's results leave Melbourne (23-0-1) at No. 1 in the state and with a top-five FAB 50 ranking secured as the rest of the winter-playing states contest their seasons. Melbourne was ranked No. 4 in last week's FAB 50.

In the 6A final, Melbourne clashed with Douglas, which was making the program's sixth state final appearance in seven seasons, having won five titles from 2003 to 2007.

Carlee Jones scored Melbourne's first goal seven minutes into the match on a rebound, and assisted on Rachel Price's 65th-minute goal. Melissa Madden capped the scoring with a 30-yard strike in the final 10 minutes of play.

Melbourne's victory marked the program's first state title since its very first playoff appearance in 1987. The program had back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1989, but had not been back to the tournament until last season's state semifinal appearance.

George Jenkins was No. 2 in last year's final FAB 50 and held the same spot going into this weekend's state final with Palm Harbor University.

Catherine Brinkman put University on the board with a 29th-minute score. Christine Knudstrup tied the match for George Jenkins less than three minutes into the second half. Anja Decker and Brinkman (on a penalty kick) capped the scoring for University.

The result ended George Jenkins' undefeated run of 55-0-3 since January 2007.

First-year school Ponte Vedra, according to the school's athletic director, is playing up in classification in anticipation of its first senior class next year, and managed to stun Cardinal Gibbons following a scoreless draw.

Sheldon Shealer covers high school soccer for ESPNRISE.com.