Viera boys soccer setting bar high for this season


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The Viera Hawks have a veteran roster that not only knows how to play together, but how to win. Pictured are senior captains (from l-r) Dominic Carrillo, Oscar Sang, Stephen Pacheaco and Scott Alliance.

Photo by Carl Kotala

Having eight returning starters would make any coach feel good about their chances heading into a new season.

Viera High boys soccer coach Cory Collins, however, believes the Hawks have something even better going for them this year.

“(We’ve got) a lot of players who know how to win,” Collins said.

Led by senior captains Stephen Pacheaco, Dominic Carrillo, Scott Alliance and Oscar Sang, the Hawks feature a number of players who have been playing together for years at both the high school and club level.

In fact, a number of players were on the Space Coast United U-17 team that won the State Cup last season and played in the National Premier Leagues Finals for the first time, reaching the semifinals. 

The confidence gained from that experience, plus the familiarity with each other, has the Hawks setting a goal of a deep playoff run for themselves this season.

“We all believe we can go far and even win a state championship,” Pacheaco said. “I would say we’re very confident. We just have to put in the work and let everything work out for itself.”

Once again, Melbourne High figures to be the main obstacle for the Hawks this season. The teams played at Melbourne on Nov. 20 and will likely meet again in the district tournament, which will be played at Hawk Stadium.

The Hawks, who were off to a 2-0 start, should be strong in goal with Jacob Kutcher, Will Whisel and Max Pacheaco. However, their strength should come from being able to put pressure on their opponents with a quick transition game and an offense that should thrive from its experience.

“We know each other very well,” Carrillo said. “We know what each other’s going to do when we have the ball, when we don’t have the ball … we know what kind of runs each person is going to make. The chemistry is spot on this year.”

This year’s Viera team also has the benefit of having Collins back for a second season. Because he got the job late last year, the coach spent the early part of the season getting to know his players. Now, he’s had a full season and a full off-season to get them prepared to make another run at a district title and beyond.

“It makes it a lot easier to know who’s coming in, what kind of shape they’re in and the kind of style they play around their clubs and adapting that to how we’ll play in high school,” Collins said. “If everyone stays healthy, we should have a good year. I think this group of guys will be disappointed with anything but a deep run into the playoffs.”