Hawks off to strong start under new coach
Viera's Carolina Santos (left) celebrates with Brooke Walsh (right) and other teammates after scoring a goal during the Hawks' 8-0 win over Eau Gallie earlier this season Viera has a new coach in Cal Dixon, but still looks like a team ready to make a deep postseason run.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Taking over a program from a coach who won state championships in two of the past three years can be a pretty daunting task.
But new Viera High girls soccer coach Cal Dixon isn’t worried.
“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure,” Dixon said. “I’ve coached a lot of the girls at Space Coast (United) already, so I know a lot of them. I’ve obviously got a lot of experience. I’ve played professional, been at college – still at college – and coach club.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all. I’m pretty confident about what we’re going to do.”
Dixon, who took over the Hawks after Courtney Lundy stepped down to spend more time with her young family, has made only a few subtle changes to the way Viera plays.
“Obviously, it’s a good program, it’s a good bunch of girls,” he said. “We’re changing the system a little bit. We’re trying to make them play a little bit more and possess the ball.”
Dixon has certainly been a big hit with Viera players. Senior Brooke Walsh called him “awesome” and senior teammate Emily Bodi likes the way he keeps the players on their toes.
“He holds us accountable,” Bodi said. “There’s no room for mistakes. We have to give our best performance every time we step on the field, which I think helps everyone do their best.”
Walsh, who had a hat trick and three assists in a win over Eau Gallie earlier this season, will certainly be a player to watch this season along with Emily Bodi; Mya Norton; JJ Bryant; Madelyn Rosario, Carolina Santos, Taylor Collins, Hannah Howe, Victoria Rosario, Kylie Pulliam and goalkeeper Cassie Bodi.
Other key players will be Hanna Vega; Kristen Clark; Mollie Roe; Riley Simpson; Jordan Spira; Catherine Koegel; Amanda Zaroogian and Abigail Rolling.
The 8-0 win over Eau Gallie pushed the Hawks record to 4-0 to start the season. And the Hawks only seem to be getting better as they get more used to Dixon’s system.
“How we’re looking right now, from West Shore (in the season opener) until now, there’s been such a big growth already,” Walsh said. “With the heart and work ethic of all the girls, including the younger girls, I feel like we could go really far as long as our hearts are in it and we keep working really hard.”
Viera will face a big challenge on Dec. 8 when they travel to Melbourne to play the Bulldogs, who ended Viera’s season in the regional semifinals.
“Right now, the goal needs to be to try and win the Cape Coast Conference,” Dixon said. “I think we’re on track to do that right now. Obviously, Melbourne’s going to be a difficult game for us. It’s going to dictate whether we do that or not.
“But I think history tells the winner of the Cape Coast Conference usually goes on and does really well at state. I think that has to be our first goal, to do well in the Cape Coast Conference games and try and win that.
“From there, I think we can do whatever we want to do at that point.”