Viera soccer teams motivated for deep postseason runs


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Members of the Viera Hawks boys soccer team celebrate a goal during a 3-1 victory against Lake Minneola last month. The Hawks say they are hungry for a deep postseason run.

Carl Kotala

The Hawks are hungry.

That’s the phrase that best describes the Viera High School girls and boys soccer teams as they head into the season, each with aspirations of making a deep playoff run.

“We have a lot of young players and that fire is new, and it’s fresh,” senior goalkeeper Jordan Spira said. “They’re all very excited about it.”

Viera’s girls, who have won two state championships, not only boast a talented starting group, but they have the kind of depth it takes to add another trophy to their collection.

The Hawks (3-0) got their season off to a strong start, including a 1-0 victory against arch-rival Melbourne.

Junior Talorie Crafton, who missed last season with a fractured hip, scored the only goal in that one, but the Hawks got solid play up and down the line — particularly in the back from Caroline Boston, Lauren Mieczkowski and goalkeepers Spira (a tri-captain) and Megan Cook.

Other top players include seniors Taylor Collins, Johanna Webb and tri-captains Catherine Koegel and Madelyn Rosario; juniors Savannah Oxley, Piper McHenry, Reese Pulliam, Serena Zarzana, Allie Worley, Amanda Vitaliano and Ariana Valentin; sophomores Mai Jensen, Morgan Brubaker; Alexandra Rowe and Victoria Wehner; and freshmen Taylor George and Kaley Vitaliano.

“I’m really positive about it. It’s a really good squad, and not just the starting 11 or the girls that played today. I think we have good squad depth. I just spoke to them about the girls that didn’t get much time, or didn’t get in. I told them we’re going to need them throughout the season if we’re going to win the Cape Coast Conference, if we’re going to have the ambition of getting to the state final and winning the state final.”

Viera’s boys, meanwhile, also were off to a strong, 3-0 start despite missing key players such as Mads Jensen, Kia Mohajeri, Nyles Lockridge and Tibor Susanj to injury.

In their absence, the Hawks were getting strong play from Stephen McHale, Zach Nielsen, Patrick Murtha, Evan Kirrane, Kyle Hupfer, Alex McCormick, Conner Floyd, John Anasa and keeper Andrew Sanger — just to name a few.

Hawks coach Nick Robinson said that says a lot about his team and how it’s approaching this season.

“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.

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

McHale reiterated the Hawks have big plans.

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