Viera lacrosse teams believe they’re on path to success
High-scoring Viera freshman Nate DePlancke, left, fights off a Merritt Island defender during last month's district game.
photo by Carl Kotala
The key word for the Viera High boys and girls lacrosse teams to focus on this season is the same:
“They’re talented, but I don’t know that they believe they’re as talented as they are,” Viera boys coach Charlie Crawford said.
The Hawks, who won the district championship last season despite having graduated 15 seniors from the previous year, lost a close regular-season game to Merritt Island on this night.
But that didn’t stop Crawford from believing his team has the goods to put it all together and make a deep postseason run.
“It’s a good group,” he said. “We’re going to have good success this year. (Tonight’s loss) was a setback, but I feel like we’re going to win the district and then hopefully go further than we’ve ever gone (two rounds) in the playoffs.”
Among the reasons for Crawford’s optimism is the play of high-scoring freshman Nate DePlancke and the work of other Hawks like Dylan Parilla, Jaxon Lenk and Jacob Wigley.
Viera also features two sets of brothers with Julian and Nick Rodriguez and Nate and his brother Brennen DePlancke.
Nate DePlancke said he is enjoying playing on the same team with Brennen — a senior — and believes the Hawks can reach their potential if they can become more efficient on offense.
“We need to take our time in the offense and not settle,” Nick DePlancke said. “Sometimes we try to push the ball too much and things just don’t work out. We need to work on not turning the ball over.”
While the boys team needs to believe and trust in its talent, the Viera girls team believes there is finally some stability in the program.
Nick Bigerton is the fourth coach the Hawks have had in four seasons, and he is determined to get Viera into district title contention.
“I’m trying to make it a fun environment where we can build something and ultimately get better,” Bigerton said.
With several games to go in the regular season, Viera already had as many wins (four) as it did all of last season, including a dramatic 7-6 victory against Melbourne on Rylee Thomas' goal with 36 seconds remaining.
Viera’s defense leads the district in the fewest goals-against-average (7) and is led by upperclassmen Emily Wallace, Sam Kalman, Lexi Osborn and Lyana Thomas.
Top goal scorers are Nicole Blanchard (13), Grace Blythe (10), Maggie Bowen (10) and Thomas (nine).
“I don’t know how to quantify it, but we’re a lot better than last year,” Wallace said. “Last year, I feel like our spirits were really low and weren’t winning a lot. But this year, everybody seems so happy and we seem to be doing really well.”