Hawks open volleyball season with dominating victory over Cocoa Beach


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Viera High freshman Sydney Williams (let) goes up with teammate Kelly Merz to record one of her seven blocks during Monday night's season opening win over Cocoa Beach.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

A lesson learned in a preseason tournament paid off for the Viera High volleyball team in its season opener against Cocoa Beach Monday night.

The Hawks dominated play much of the night on the way to a three-set sweep of the visiting Minutemen by scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-13.

“It was a good start,” Viera coach Sarah Wayne said. “We had a preseason (tournament) on Thursday and preseason is always about learning what you need to improve on.

“We needed to have a little bit more intensity and we needed to move a little bit more. We had one day to put that in play on Friday and I think today it showed that they knew that every movement counts.”

Senior Delaney Lott had 12 kills, three blocks and two aces to lead the Hawks. Freshman Sydney Williams had seven blocks and five kills. Junior Lauren Lewis had eight kills. Senior Chloe Arellano had 22 assists and senior Marissa Hulmes had 15.

Sophomore Hannah Bradford led the team with 14 digs while sophomore Savannah Reiser had eight. Sophomore Kelly Merz had four kills and senior Madi Hintz had three aces.

Asked about the team’s performance Monday night, Merz reiterated Wayne’s point that the players were able to learn and make adjustments after their performance at last week’s tournament in St. Cloud.

“On Friday at practice, we talked about refreshing and resetting our mindset and just coming out intense and working extremely hard,” she said. “We don’t want to be lazy. Even if we’re up by 15, we still want to be doing what we’d be doing if we were down by 15.”

While Viera has six seniors – including Lott, a four-year varsity player – to lead the way, the Hawks will also be relying on a number of younger players in key spots.

Williams, a 6-foot middle blocker, certainly made quite an impression in her Viera debut.

“I played club with her. She’s amazing,” Merz said. “She’ll do some big things here.”

If Monday night’s game was any indication, it’s easy to see why players and coaches say there is something different about this year’s team, and why there are expectations for a highly successful season.

“We’re going to do something special, I feel like,” Merz said. “We all want it. My first year, we wanted it, but this year, I feel it more.

“I think we have more heart this year. We believe in ourselves.”