Viera girls win again
PHOTO BY CHERYL ROE
Even before she became the Viera High girls soccer coach four years ago, Courtney Lundy knew the Hawks had the talent to become state champions one day.
“Oh, yeah, I saw it before I came,” she said. “There was always talent at Viera. It was just a matter of getting them to believe.”
If last year’s state title wasn’t enough to get everyone to believe in the Hawks, going back-to-back has certainly left no doubt.
Viera defeated a trio of unbeaten teams — including the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, St. Thomas Aquinas — on its way to a second straight Class 4A state championship last month.
The Hawks finished the season 22-1-1 and ranked No. 1 in the state, No. 7 in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
“This is the most validating feeling,” senior Jordan Walsh said following Viera’s 2-1 victory against Niceville in the title game at Melbourne High.
“Our whole goal was to go back-to-back. People were saying we couldn’t do it, people were doubting, and we proved it. No matter what, if you say we can’t do something, if you put something in our way, we will accomplish that.
“I’m very grateful for this team. We pushed through, fought for everything. There were multiple times when we’ve come from behind. We put everything out there. I couldn’t be more proud. This is a great feeling.”
Winning the state title was truly a team effort, from Hollyn Knight’s game-winning goal off a cross from Brooke
Walsh against St. Thomas Aquinas, to goals by Jordan Walsh and Sarah Kelliher in the championship game. From the outstanding play of sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Lau, to the gritty defense played by Sarah Sanford, Shannon Gosule, Morgan Pulliam and Julia Ramsey.
There was the solid, consistent play of JJ Bryant and Mollie Roe and help off the bench from Cori Fisher, Emily Bodi, Maya Norton and Jaclyn Zumsteg.
Alex Capalbo, Cassie Bodi, Kylie Pulliam, Kailee Holland, Hannah Lucas, Hannah Howe and Kristen Clark all played important roles throughout the run to the title, too.
Then there was Lundy and her staff, which includes her husband, Brian, and Derek Smith. They have gotten the Hawks to believe.
“She encouraged us to use our personalities out on the field, that we are each a piece of the puzzle,” Jordan Walsh said.
Kelliher, who played on Viera’s varsity for four years, couldn’t say enough about the job Lundy has done.
In just four short years, she has turned the Hawks from a program with unrealized potential into a powerhouse that must now be considered among the top girls soccer teams in the state.
“Courtney is incredible,” Kelliher said. “She is, by far, the best coach I’ve ever had.
“Her and Brian’s goal, as soon as they came in, was, ‘we’re going to make this a program to be talked about, that girls want to be a part of.’
“That’s what we did. It was just a great feeling to see that all come together the last two years.”