Hawks no match for Bulldogs in first round of rivalry
Viera freshman Lauren Mieczkowski tries to clear the ball during Monday night's district game between the Hawks and Melbourne. The Bulldogs won the game 2-0 in what could be the first of three meetings between the teams this season as they will likely play again in the district final and possibly in the regional semifinals as well.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
It was certainly not the way the Viera High girls soccer team wanted to go into the winter break.
But at least they’ll be happy to finally get some rest.
The Melbourne Bulldogs came into Hawk Stadium Monday night and dominated the Hawks for a 2-0 win that likely put an end to a number of goals on Viera’s list.
Melbourne is now the favorite to be the No. 1 seed in the Cape Coast Conference South Division and the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A, District 6 tournament that will begin at the end of January.
And obviously, Viera (8-1-2) won’t finish the year undefeated.
But the No. 1 goal on the Hawks’ list – a state championship – is still alive and well.
“Last year, we did the same thing to them in this game, in terms of beating them 3-1,” Viera coach Cal Dixon said. “The hope now is that we can face them in the district final and turn around and beat them like they did to us last year.
“Obviously, we wanted to win the game. I think if f we had played the whole game like we did the last 20 minutes, it might have been a different story.
“But ultimately, I think Melbourne deserved to win it. We knew they were going to be dangerous on set plays, and that’s how they won the game.”
Both of Melbourne’s goals came off corner kicks. The Hawks had a chance to clear the ball, particularly on the first goal, but were unable to do so and the Bulldogs took advantage.
Viera played the game without one of its top offensive players, Taylor Collins, and leading scorer Allie Worley went down with an injury in the second half. Two other key players, freshman center-mid Lauren Mieczkowski and senior center-mid Victoria Rosario were also playing hurt or sick.
While Dixon did not want to use that as an excuse, he did say his team may have been too fired up for the game between the arch rivals and perhaps a little tired as well thanks to a hectic schedule.
“I thought we actually came out with fire, but we didn’t settle down and keep the ball when we could,” he said. “All of the time, we just kept giving it to them. We were winning tackles, but it just went back to them.
“So, I think (we had) maybe too much fire and were not composed enough when we needed to be composed.”
Viera won’t play again until Jan. 10, when the Hawks visit Astronaut. The break will give the players a chance to heal and rest after a busy high school and club season that had many of them playing 10 games in 14 days – and that was before Viera went to Monte Verde to play in the WIST tournament against Cardinal Gibbons and Bolles last weekend.
“This break is going to be good for us because we’ve had so many games,” Dixon said. “I think it’s catching up with us with injuries, with people being hurt, with people playing tired.
“We’re battling. I’ve been proud of them. We were hoping we could battle all the way through to Christmas and go into Christmas undefeated. But I think it finally caught up to us. (Melbourne is) a good team that knows us really well.
“… It’s still been a great season so far. I don’t think there’s any embarrassment in losing to a team like Melbourne. But we know we can play better. That’s the part that hurts. We know we can play better.”