Hawks pass big test as postseason soccer nears

Viera tops visiting Nease 2-0 for third straight win


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Viera High's Serena Zarzana goes up for a header during Saturday's non-district game against visiting Nease. The Hawks would go on to win the game 2-0.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

After a grueling early-season schedule, the Viera High girls soccer team went into the Christmas break hoping to get a little rest.

Consider those batteries re-charged.

The Hawks dominated a visiting Nease High team Saturday afternoon, topping the Panthers 2-0 at Hawk Stadium.

Piper McHenry and Madelyn Rosario scored first half goals for Viera (11-1-2), both coming off assists from Carolina Santos.

“I was very happy with our performance today,” Viera coach Cal Dixon said. “I feel that we played with the intensity required to win our physical battles, but also with composure when we had the ball to keep possession and create chances going forward.

“I think the Christmas break gave us a good chance to recover from fatigue that we suffered from a hectic schedule before Christmas and it has been a great start to the season after Christmas break so far.”

Viera’s players, who at one point played 10 games in 14 days between high school and club action, certainly looked fresh and ready to go Saturday morning.

In addition to the goals by McHenry and Madelyn Rosario, the Hawks got strong play up and down their lineup from players like Santos; goalkeeper Cassie Bodi; Victoria Rosario; Abigail Rolling; Lauren Mieczkowski; Kylie Pulliam; Allie Worley; Taylor Collins; Savannah Oxley and Serena Zarzana, with help from Amanda Zaroogian; Hanna Vega; Johanna Webb; Reese Pulliam; Amanda Vitaliano; Caroline Boston and Ariana Valentin.

In their three games since returning from break, the Hawks have beaten Lincoln Park (8-0), Astronaut (12-0) and now Nease (2-0).

Of those three games, Saturday’s matchup with Nease (7-4-2) – ranked No. 50 in the state by MaxPreps -- was by far the biggest test for Viera, which is about to enter the fun part of its schedule

The Hawks will host Sebastian River Monday night at 5 in what will not only be their final district game, but will also mark Senior Night for Bodi; Santos; Kylie Pulliam; Vega; Zaroogian; Victoria Rosario; Rolling and Mya Norton.

After that, Viera will host Edgewood Wednesday at 6 in a Cape Coast Conference playoff game before the district tournament begins for the Hawks on Jan. 29.

“This was one of two good games we have leading up to the districts to give us a good test and give us an idea of where we are at and what we can continue to improve on,” Dixon said.

If Saturday’s win wasn’t encouraging enough for the Hawks, so was the fact that they appear to be getting healthy again at just the right time.

Not only is Vega back from an injury, but Catherine Koegel could be ready to play soon, too. Norton, who missed Saturday’s game with an illness, could be back Monday.

“They are all good, experienced players to have back and I will be welcome competition for the rest of the squad, which can only help us going forward,” Dixon said.