Viera tennis teams have strength at the top


Published:

Members of the Viera High girls tennis team. Top row, from left to right, Coach Maria Woodruff, Kassi Ferrer, Emily Li, Blakely Duke and Belou Briski. Bottom row, Amanda Sedaros, Izzie Diaz, Leeya Jomon, Sierra Connor and Hope Woodruff. Not pictured: Sasha Belaya, Emily Dwyer and Christin Rivas. Photo courtesy of Arron Lampkin

Powered by strong play at the top of their respective lineups, the Viera High boys and girls tennis teams could be in for a banner season.

“We think we have a very good chance of competing at the state level because there is so much talent, and these girls work really hard,” said first-year Viera girls coach Maria Woodruff.

Led by a quartet of tournament-level players that are not only talented, but young, Woodruff’s Hawks certainly have the makings of a top contender.

Junior Sasha Belaya will be Viera’s No. 1 singles player this season, while sophomore Izzie Diaz — who moved here from Omaha, Nebraska — is in the No. 2 spot.

Freshman Hope Woodruff will play No. 3 for the Hawks, while another freshman, Amanda Sedaros, is in the fourth spot.

The fifth singles position is a three-way contest between sophomore Emily Li, freshman Blakely Duke (who moved here from Arkansas) and senior Belou Briski.

Viera opened the season not only going 4-0 against their opponents, but not even losing a match. The Hawks’ lineup is loaded, all right.

“Those top four players have played in a lot of tournaments,” Woodruff said. “They’re very high-level players. It’s exciting to have that on one high school team. Usually, high school teams have one or two good players. We have four.”

Viera’s boys, meanwhile, are also strong at the top with junior Nico Fuchs returning to play at the No. 1 singles spot for the third straight season.

Right behind Fuchs is Gabe Diaz, a left-handed freshman who hits the ball with a lot of spin and is the younger brother of Izzie Diaz.

Fuchs and Diaz figure to help the Hawks win a lot of matches this season, with help from senior Lucas Gusman at No. 3, junior Matt Podzelinski at No. 4 and senior Dylan Layun in the fifth spot.

Although Gusman and Layun are both seniors, the boys also have a young squad with four juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen.

While getting past Melbourne and/or Satellite could be a challenge later on in the postseason, new boys coach Chris Gallagher believes the Hawks have to be considered the favorite in a district that includes Bayside, Eau Gallie, Heritage, Merritt Island, Palm Bay and Sebastian River.

“This is a team that’s got a chance,” Gallagher said. “I’ve got to believe we’re the favorite in the district, if we stay healthy.”