Viera girls ready to take shot at a third straight state title


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Viera High junior JJ Bryant and the Viera Hawks are gunning to become the first team in Brevard County history to win three straight state soccer championships.

photo by Carl Kotala

Oh yeah, they’ve thought about it.

Members of the Viera High girls soccer team know all too well what would happen if they could win another state championship. Not only would they continue to make school history. They would make Brevard County history as well.

“No one in Brevard has ever (gotten a) three-peat,” senior Hollyn Knight said. “We’re determined. We’re ready.”

The Hawks are aware of something else, too.

There is a lot of time between now February, when the Class 4A state title will be determined, and if they don’t take care of business, their fate will be the same as the other Brevard County teams who came up short in their quest for a three-peat.

Of the other four teams that have won two straight titles – the Melbourne girls in 2009-10 and 2013-14, the Melbourne boys in 2009-10 and the Satellite girls in 2002-03 – only Satellite made it back to the state title game for a third straight year. That team lost to St. Thomas Aquinas on penalty kicks. 

In order to combat some of the outside distractions that could disrupt the Hawks drive for another title – be it the pressure of a three-peat or even the possibility of past success leading to complacency -- coach Courtney Lundy has preach that the team keep all of its attention inward.

“One of our goals, besides the long-term goal, was to make sure that we’re a family, having each other’s back and focusing on us and our team and who we are,” she said.

The Hawks lost only four players from last year’s championship team, though three of them – Jordan Walsh, Sarah Kelliher and Sarah Sanford – were all vital starters.

That means the Viera lineup will look slightly different this year with players like Hannah Howe, Emily Bodi, Mya Norton, Hannah Vega, Malia Brock, Kylie Pulliam and Tyler Collins all asked to take on more important roles.

Howe will start in the back, joining Shannon Gosule in front of super talented goalkeeper Sydney Lau. Bodi is now in the starting lineup and scoring goals along with Norton and Vega has been also been getting some starts along with Cori Fisher.

Add them to veterans like Hollyn Knight, Brooke Walsh, JJ Bryant, Morgan Pulliam, Mollie Roe and Julia Ramsey and the Hawks should be dangerous once again.

“Everyone brings something good and something new to this team, so not having the people from last year … we’re going to have to adjust to that,” Gosule said following an early season win. “I think we’ve done well.”

As a two-time state champion, the Hawks can bet they will get everyone’s best game and that Melbourne will be eager to reclaim its role as the dominant team in the district.

But if Viera can steer clear of those outside distractions and keep the focus on the short-term goals instead of the long-term, they could put themselves in position to be celebrating once again.

“I’m excited to see where we’re going to be,” Knight said. “Every game, there’s something new. And it all comes together at the end.”