Patience pays off for Hawks in regional quarterfinal win

Viera tops Windermere 1-0 to reach regional semis


Viera's Carolina Santos (left) gets her head on the ball during Tuesday night's Class 4A regional quarterfinal at Hawk Stadium. The Hawks won the game 1-0 to advance to Fridy's semifinals.


Keep shooting, the goal will come.

That’s what members of the Viera High girls soccer team kept telling themselves Tuesday night after a first half that saw them put a number of shots on goal against visiting Windermere, only to have the scoreboard still showing zeros at the half.

Keep shooting, the goal will come …

And it did.

Allie Worley scored on a rebound of a shot by teammate Carolina Santos less than two minutes into the second half and the Viera defense made it stand up as the Hawks defeated the visiting Wolverines 1-0 in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal at Hawk Stadium.

“For me personally, and I think for the whole team, we had the patience to know that the goals would come because we were so close every time,” Santos said. “We didn’t get frustrated.”

The win puts Viera (17-1-2) into Friday’s regional semifinals, where the Hawks will host Montverde Academy (19-0), which defeated Melbourne 3-0 Tuesday night.

Despite the Hawks’ inability to score in the first half – including a penalty kick – Viera coach Cal Dixon was quite pleased with the way his team played against Windermere.

The Hawks dominated possession throughout much of the game, though the Wolverines made a nice push in the final 10 minutes to try to get the game-tying goal.

“That was our downfall for the reason why it was so close at the end,” Dixon said of the early missed shots.

“It was a bit of a panic station at the end sometimes because we missed so many chances at the start of the game. Obviously, we had the penalty, but we had chances on top of that.

“If we had put those away early, I think it’s a different game. Credit to Windermere. They kept fighting. They kept going, despite all the chances we were creating. I was really pleased with the way we played. That’s the only negative for me, that we didn’t put away chances that we had. We could have made the game a lot easier than what it was.”

While Windermere was getting a good game in goal, the Hawks noticed their shots were being blocked more than caught. At halftime, they stressed making sure there was someone there to follow up any potential rebounds.

And that’s exactly what happened, as Santos drilled a shot toward the right corner that was blocked and Worley was there to take advantage. Santos, a senior co-captain, was happy to see the Hawks be able to apply the instructions they got at the half.

“It was just such a good relief,” Santos said of Worley’s goal. “It was like, ‘OK, we can win this game,’ because before it was just scoreless. It was getting to the point where you start worrying a little bit. ‘Are we going to win this game?’

“But when Allie scored, I had this huge wave of relief.”

The Hawks had a number of big performances from players like Santos; Worley; goalkeeper Cassie Bodi (who got the shutout); Taylor Collins; Mya Norton; Victoria Rosario; Madelyn Rosario; Caroline Boston; Serena Zarzano; Savannah Oxley; Mai Jensen; Lauren Mieczkowski and Amanda Zaroogian.

But one of the most important efforts of the night was put in by senior Kylie Pulliam, who with some relief help from senior Abigail Rolling, marked Windermere’s top scorer all night and kept the Wolverines in check.

Now the Hawks get Montverde, which is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps. The two teams met in last year’s regional quarterfinals with Montverde winning on penalty kicks during its run to the state championship.

“We’re excited because as good as they are … last year, we took them all the way. We took them to penalty kicks and we had a chance to win the game,” Dixon said. “We know they’re a very, very good team, but we’re going to go into it with confidence, especially (since) we’ll be home.

“We know what’s on the line and we’re going to give it everything we have. Hopefully, it won’t be our last game and we can keep marching on.”

If the Hawks are able to beat Montverde, it wouldn’t be the first time the Hawks have pulled off a big upset. Viera’s 2016 state championship team knocked off St. Thomas Aquinas, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time, during the state semifinals.

“I think it’s just a matter of playing like we’ve been playing all season, because when we do that, we come out with really great results,” Santos said. “It’s just a matter of having the right mentality also, to know that we can win.”