Viera tennis teams poised for more postseason success


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Viera's Gabe Diaz delivers a serve during a recent match against Titusville.

photos by Carl Kotala

After a successful regular season, the Viera High boys and girls tennis teams are gearing up for another postseason run.

And that should play right into their wheelhouse.

The Viera girls, who were off to an 11-1 start, should cruise through the district tournament before advancing to the Class 3A regionals. Last year’s team defeated Jensen Beach before falling to West Boca. With virtually all of their key players returning, the Hawks figure to be contenders once again.

A year after making all kinds of Viera tennis history, Sasha Belaya is back at the top of the Hawks’ ladder. Last season, Belaya not only became the first Viera player to win the state singles championship, she teamed with Izzie Diaz to win the Class 3A doubles title. Belaya eventually was named Miss Tennis by the Florida Dairy Farmers.

The senior, who has signed to play at the University of Illinois, will be back to defend her titles along with Diaz, who is a junior and the No. 2 player in Viera’s lineup.

Sophomore Amanda Sedaros, junior Hope Woodruff and junior Emily Li round out the Hawks’ top five.

Viera High's Sasha Belaya is the defending Class 3A singles and doubles state champion.While trying to build for another big postseason run, Viera coach Maria Woodruff also has been trying to give other players — in particular sophomore Blakely Duke and junior Leeya Jomon — some valuable court time that will pay off in the future.

“That’s what I’ve been focusing on this year,” Maria Woodruff said. “I know we’ve got a pretty solid team, but I want to get some of the other girls in. Last year, it was my first year of coaching, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

“This year, I know what we’re going into, so it’s easier to work people in and that way, everybody can play. It makes it more exciting.”

Viera’s boys have a new coach in John Lindheimer, who certainly is enjoying his role. The Hawks got off to a 10-1 start.

“I’ve always wanted to coach, so this is a dream of mine. … I am so blessed to be coaching these guys,” Lindheimer said. “It’s such an honor and a privilege. They’re so talented.”

The Hawks are loaded at the top with junior Gabe Diaz and senior Nick Fuchs.

Freshman Griffin Lamp is playing at No. 3, followed by senior Matt Podzielinski, junior Matt Bean and senior John Shi. Sophomore Oskar Jiborn is a doubles specialist. 

Viera also should win a district title, adding to what already has been a successful season.

“I run a no-cut program,” Lindheimer said. “We have 12 guys on the roster and every single one of these guys has played in and won at least one match for the varsity.”