Commentary

Melbourne finishes No. 1

Updated: April 16, 2009, 7:53 AM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

ESPN will release the ESPN RISE FAB 50 national girls' soccer winter rankings each week of the regular season and playoffs, continuing through the final matches of the Texas state playoffs.

Melbourne (Fla.) finished its girls' soccer season two months, but the Florida 6A juggernaut finally reached the FAB 50 No. 1 spot thanks to a little help from Coppell (Texas).

Coppell knocked off last week's No. 1 Reagan (San Antonio), allowing Melbourne to move into the top spot to finish a topsy-turvy winter season that saw seven programs take a turn at No. 1 in the 18-week winter season.

Here are a few highlights to the season:

& Foothill (Pleasaton, Calif.) nearly locked up No. 1 until losing in overtime in its section final. A strong case can be made for Foothill has being the most talented high school soccer team in Northern California with nine NCAA Division I signees in the starting 11.

& American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) suffered two losses en route to a state-title winning season, but those losses came at a holiday tournament where the team basically played its back-ups and junior varsity players since its starters had a club commitment.

& Coppell won the grueling Texas 5A state final, and the result makes the largely underclass Cowgirls a strong choice for preseason No. 1 next winter.

& Speaking of next season, Xavier College Prep (Phoenix) returns most of its starting lineup and also should be in the preseason top five discussion.

Results through April 12 - FINAL.

ESPN RISE FAB 50 WINTER GIRLS' SOCCER RANKINGS: WEEK 18-FINAL (Nos. 1-25)
Rk. School (City, State) Record Prv.

Notes

1 Melbourne (Fla.) 23-0-1* 2

Season complete. Florida Class 6A state champion. Melbourne denied Douglas a sixth state title in seven years with a 3-0 victory in the final. Carlee Jones had a goal and one assist in the final.

2 (San Clemente, Calif.) 29-4-1* 4

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I champion. CIF-Southern Section Division I champion. Alexis Mahoney scored two goals, but it was Barret Bestard's rebound shot that lifted the Triton to a 3-2 victory over Buchanan for the regional tile. In the semifinals, San Clemente defeated Los Alamitos, the same squad it defeated for the CIF-Southern Section crown.

3 Ursuline Academy (Dallas) 21-3-2* 15

Season complete. TAPPS Division I state champion. Texas signee Sophie Campise scored both goals as Ursuline defeated rival Nolan Catholic 2-1 to secure the program's 19th straight TAPPS title. The victory also atones for a pair of Ursuline losses to Nolan Catholic during regular-season play.

4 Coppell (Texas) 25-4-4* 26

Season complete. Texas 5A state champion. Alyssa Diggs scored the match-winning goal as Coppell finally put away The Woodlands 3-2 in the state final. In the semifinals, Coppell edged Reagan 1-0 in overtime on a Diggs' goal. During the regular season, Coppell lost to Ursuline Academy. With Coppell's underclass-dominated squad, it is likely the Cowgirls will start the 2009-2010 season as the FAB 50 No. 1 team.

5 San Ramon Valley (Danville, Calif.) 18-5-3* 5

Season complete. CIF-North Coast Section champion. San Ramon Valley stunned Foothill 4-3 in overtime in the section final for its fourth straight title. SRV trailed 3-1 with 15 minutes left before mounting the comeback. Allie Begin scored the winning goal in overtime.

6 Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.) 21-1-0* 6

Season complete. CIF-North Coast Section runner-up. Foothill was 13 minutes away from the FAB 50 national title before San Ramon Valley rallied for a 4-3 victory over the squad hailed as the most talented high school team every assembled in Northern California. Carlee Payne scored all three Foothill goals in the final.

7 Esperanza (Anaheim, Calif.) 22-3-2* 7

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I quarterfinalist. This former FAB 50 No. 1 team with Tennessee signee Kylie Bono and Southern Cal signee Courtney Garcia fell to San Clemente on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in the quarterfinals.

8 Xavier College Prep (Phoenix) 22-2-1* 8

Season complete. Arizona Class 5A-I state champion. Carmen Abella converted the deciding penalty kick as Xavier defeated Desert Vista in a shootout following a scoreless match for the state title.

9 Los Alamitos (Calif.) 25-5-5* 9

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I semifinalist. CIF-Southern Section Division I runner-up. In back-to-back tournaments, Los Alamitos lost to San Clemente. First, Los Al fell to San Clemente in the Southern Section final and then again in the SCR semifinals - both by 2-0 scores. Los Al defeated San Clemente 2-0 early in the season. Other key results for the Griffins include wins over Aliso Niguel (in PKs) and Torrey Pines and two losses to Esperanza.

10 Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) 22-2-3* 10

Season complete. CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinalist. Aliso's season ended with a shootout loss to Los Alamitos.

11 The Woodlands (Texas) 27-2-3* 3

Season complete. Texas 5A state runner-up. Coppell coach Chris Strickler said The Woodlands was the strongest team it faced this season. The Woodlands twice rallied before falling 3-2 to Coppell in the state final.

12 American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 25-2-3* 12

Season complete. Florida Class 3A state champion. Kleopatra Ruddock scored the game-winner as the Patriots edged Bolles School 2-1 in the final. At full strength, American Heritage was undefeated, including an earlier 3-0 victory over Bolles. The Patriots only losses this year came at a holiday tournament in which their starters, all club players, did not participate due to a club event.

13 University (Palm Harbor, Fla.) 22-2-0* 13

Season complete. Florida Class 5A state champion. Catherine Brinkman scored twice as University pulled away with two goals in the final 12 minutes to defeat George Jenkins 3-1 in the state final. The victory marked coach John Planamenta's 201st during his coaching career.

14 George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.) 26-1-1* 14

Season complete. Florida Class 5A state runner-up. George Jenkins' 58-match undefeated run ended with a 3-1 loss to Palm Harbor University in the state final.

15 Reagan (San Antonio, Texas) 25-1-2* 1

Season complete. Texas 5A state semifinalist. Reagan's undefeated run ended with a 1-0 overtime loss to Coppell in the state semifinals. Reagan set school records with 25 wins and 21 shutouts this season.

16 J.J. Pearce (Richardson, Texas) 26-1-2* 16

Season complete. Texas 4A state champion. Seldom do 4A teams crack the Top 25, but Pearce is an exception. Two seniors have signed with Division I programs and three juniors are already commited to Division I teams. En route to a school-record win total, Pearce split with 5A and state-ranked Allen. Pearce's playoff run was capped by a 1-0 win over Friendswood in the state final on an early goal by Maddie Harper.

17 Oviedo (Fla.) 22-2-1* 17

Season complete. Florida Class 6A state semifinalist. Oviedo gave Melbourne its toughest playoff match before falling 2-1 in the state semifinals.

18 Punahou (Honolulu) 13-0-3* 18

Season complete. Hawaii Division I state champion. Jayann Gabrio's header in the 36th minute lifted Punahou to a 1-0 state final victory over three-time defending champion Kamehameha. The teams tied earlier in the season. Punahou's state final victory was its ninth overall and first since 2005.

19 Buchanan (Fresno, Calif.) 27-4-1* 19

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I runner-up. Central Coast Division I champion. Buchanan moves into the Top 25 after defeating Westview on penalty kicks in the Southern Regional semifinals. Buchanan became the first non-Southern Section team to reach the SCR final.

20 Westview (San Diego) 24-2-5* 20

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I semifinalist. CIF-San Diego Section Division I champion. Westview won in PKs over Torrey Pines to claim the section title, then lost in PKs to Buchanan in the SCR semifinals. Westview was aiming to become the first San Diego team to reach the SCR Division I finals.

21 Torrey Pines (San Diego) 19-4-2* 21

Season complete. Southern California Regional Division I quarterfinalist. CIF-San Diego Section Division I runner-up. Torrey Pines' season ended with a pair of losses to Westview (in the section final) and Los Alamitos (in the SCR quarterfinals).

22 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 14-4-5* 23

Season complete. CIF-Southern Section Division I quarterfinalist. Mater Dei's playoff run ended with a PK setback to Los Alamitos. Mater Dei was the Trinity League champion and had a draw with Westview.

23 Burlingame (Calif.) 19-1-4* 24

Season complete. Central Coast Section champion. Burlingame was won back-to-back CCS titles and sports a 44-1-5 record over the past two seasons.

24 McKinney Boyd (McKinney, Texas) 23-5-2* 25

Season complete. Texas 5A region runner-up. Boyd's season ended with a region final loss to Coppell.

25 Clear Lake (Houston) 21-1-3* 4

Season complete. Texas 5A state semifinalist. Clear Lake made a big jump in last week's FAB 50 in case the team pulled off an undefeated season. Instead, a semifinal loss to The Woodlands pushes this team beyond Dallas area power Boyd.

ESPN RISE FAB 50 WINTER GIRLS' SOCCER RANKINGS: WEEK 18-FINAL (Nos. 26-50)
Rank School (City, State) Record Prv.
26 El Toro (Lake Forest, Calif.) 18-5-2* 26
27 Kamehameha (Honolulu) 12-1-2* 27
28 Los Osos (Calif.) 19-4-5* 28
29 Upland (Calif.) 18-3-3* 29
30 Cypress Creek (Houston) 23-2-2* 30
31 Satellite (Satellite Beach, Fla.) 21-5-2* 31
32 Castro Valley (Calif.) 21-4-1* 32
33 St. John's Country Day (Orange Park, Fla.) 23-2-2* 33
34 Ponte Vedra (Fla.) 25-3-2* 34
35 Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 29-1-2* 35
36 Desert Vista (Phoenix) 16-4-4* 36
37 St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 15-3-2* 37
38 Greenhill School (Addison, Texas) 21-1-1* 38
39 Lake Highlands (Dallas) 23-3-3* 39
40 Kingwood (Humble, Texas) 26-1-1* 40
41 Austin (Fort Bend, Texas) 23-1-2* 41
42 Clayton Valley (Concord, Calif.) 20-4-3* 42
43 Saugus (Calif.) 20-4-3* 43
44 Seminole (Fla.) 15-3-1* 44
45 Highland (Gilbert, Ariz.) 14-4-1* 45
46 Douglas (Parkland, Fla.) 22-4-3* 46
47 Hebron (Texas) 15-3-5* 47
48 Mililani (Hawaii) 15-1-2* 48
49 St. Scholastica (Covington, La.) 20-2-0* 49
50 Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, Calif.) 16-2-4* 50