Hawks fueled by hunger for postseason success


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The Viera Hawks are off to a 6-1 start this season despite several key players missing time with injuries. Coach Nick Robinson said, "“In previous years, I want to say we’ve maybe been a bit too content. This year, it’s a team that’s hungry. We want to win."

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera High boys soccer team is off to another strong start this season, but there’s something different about the Hawks.

It’s not something tangible.

It’s more of a feeling you get while watching them play.

“We’re willing to put in the work, fight for each other, play hard and do the right things,” senior Stephen McHale said. “We have that grind to do it.

“… We just want to go far, win games and show everybody what Viera can do.”

The Hawks, who are off to a 6-1 start despite dealing with injuries to key players, remember all too well the sting of losing last year’s district tournament final to Melbourne on penalty kicks. In fact, you might say that’s what is helping spark their play this season.

“Losing in penalties was … I wouldn’t say devastating, but it’s fueled the boys to make sure we do everything right, consistently throughout the year so when we do get to that situation again, win or lose, we can at least look at each other in the eyes and say, ‘We’ve done everything we could do this year,’” Viera coach Nick Robinson said.

“You can hang your hat on stuff like that.”

The Hawks certainly have a lot of talent to rely on, too, especially when they are fully healthy.

Mads Jensen, Kia Mohajeri and Nyles Lockridge all missed time at the beginning of the season and Tibor Susanj was injured during a 3-1 win over Lake Minneola.

When the Hawks get all four players back, they’ll combine with players like McHale, Zach Nielsen, Patrick Murtha, Evan Kirrane, Kyle Hupfer, Alex McCormick, Conner Floyd and keeper Andrew Sanger to make the Hawks a tough matchup for anyone.

“I think this team could do big things,” McHale said. “We’re going to make it far.

“We have a solid defense this year, and our attackers, they’re just hungry for goals.”

Viera will be on the road at Cocoa on Wednesday and at Astronaut on Monday before returning home on Dec. 11 to host Titusville.

While the Hawks figure to get a challenge from Harmony in the newly-configured Class 6A, District 12, their main obstacle to a championship is still Melbourne.

Those two teams are scheduled to meet Jan. 15 at Viera in the regular season and could very well meet again on Feb. 1 in the district tournament final, which is set to be held at Melbourne.

Of course, there are a lot of games to be played between now and then, and the Hawks don’t plan on letting a moment go by when they’re not trying to get better.

This is an opportunity they don’t want to see slip away.

“In previous years, I want to say we’ve maybe been a bit too content,” Robinson said. “This year, it’s a team that’s hungry. We want to win. And they’re prepared to do anything to win. They’re working for each other.

“And that’s the most important thing this year – we’ve got a team-first mentality. Hopefully, we can continue that throughout the year.”