Hawks fall in district title game as Cocoa Beach wins 13-9
Viera's Gavin Wessel (No. 4) brings the ball upfield against Cocoa Beach during the Class 1A, District 21 championship game. The Minutemen wont he game 13-9. Afterward, Viera coach Charlie Crawford said Wessel was not only the player of the game for the Hawks, but he MVP of the season.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
For the third straight year, the Viera High boys lacrosse team had to watch someone else celebrate winning the district championship.
Try as they might, the Hawks could never wrest control of the game from Cocoa Beach and it was the Minutemen who came away with a 13-9 victory in Hawk Stadium Thursday night to claim the Class 1A, District 21 title.
“They tried hard, but the better team won,” Viera coach Charlie Crawford said.
Tracy Tucker had five goals for the Hawks. Nick Rodriguez had two goals and an assist. Gavin Wessel had a goal and an assist. Trevor Williams also had a goal and assist. Dallas Thomas had one assist.
It was the final game for seniors Tyler Bartlett, Joe Altieri, Rodriguez, Stephen Zoubek and Carter Sima.
Crawford described his seniors as a “great group of guys” who were hoping to get their first district title since their freshman year.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they were playing without their top two scorers – Jared Weiss and Nate DePlancke (injury) – and that was tough to overcome against a good Cocoa Beach team.
The Minutemen were aggressive on both ends of the field, challenging every Viera shot on defense, pushing the pace on offense. They also did a good job of taking advantage of some costly turnovers by the Hawks, including a bad pass right in front of the Viera net that led to an easy goal.
Cocoa Beach also did a good job of snatching the momentum back every time the Hawks seemed like they had something going.
Viera trailed 8-3 at the half and made a nice run to start the third quarter. That lead to one of the game’s critical moments.
After cutting the Cocoa Beach lead to 9-6, the Hawks were a man up, with the ball, and had a chance to make it a two-goal game and really turn up the pressure. However, Viera couldn’t convert on any of a half-dozen shots and the ball went back to the Minutemen.
The Hawks made a nice defensive stop to re-gain possession, but another Viera turnover led to a goal by the Minutemen for a dramatic swing that put the Hawks back in a four-goal deficit.
“When the offense played well, the defense struggled,” Crawford said. “When the defense played well, the offense struggled. That pretty much sums up the season.”
Though the Hawks didn’t get the title, they will have a number of key returners next season that should allow them to be in contention yet again.
As for Thursday’s game, Crawford had praise for several of his players.
“Tracy Tucker had a real good offensive game tonight,” Crawford said. “He stepped up and did quite well.
“… I would say the highlight of tonight was Gavin Wessel. He’s our faceoff guy who kept us in the game. He’s our MVP for the season as far as I’m concerned.”