Hawks rally twice, edge Mustangs for big overtime win
Viera's Nate DePlancke picks up teammate Nick Rodriguez in celebration after a goal by Rodriguez with 2:32 remaining in overtime gave the Hawks a 10-9 win over Merritt Island in a big district game Wednesday night.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Viera High boys lacrosse team clearly wasn’t at its best during Wednesday night’s big district game on Merritt Island.
But the Hawks came up with the goods when it mattered most.
Nick Rodriguez scored with 2:32 remaining in overtime as Viera defeated the host Mustangs 10-9 in a Class 1A, District 21 contest that should give the Hawks the top seed in next month’s district playoffs.
Rodriguez would score two goals and have three assists for Viera (10-0). Bryce Norton scored three times and Nate DePlancke and Jared Weiss each scored twice. Dylan Parrilla also had a goal.
Goalie Nick Rossi had 12 saves.
Despite the win, the Hawks will have plenty to work on when they resume practice after a game in which Viera struggled to connect with its passing game and made only 3 of 28 shots in the first half, though Merritt Island goalie Peyton McDonald did have an excellent game for the Mustangs.
“This was our first game on turf and we weren’t ready for it,” Viera coach Charlie Crawford said. “... We’ve got to find somewhere before the playoffs that we can practice on turf because (the playoffs) are here, too.
“As bad as they played, they didn’t give up. They played hard. We just need to remember fundamentals matter. They were so amped up in the first half, so excited and so fired up that they were making wild throws and not running the plays.”
Merritt Island (14-3) had leads of 3-1 in the first half and 6-3 early in the second. But each time, the Hawks were able to find a way to rally and tie things up.
Viera would take its first lead of the game with just over five minutes to play, but the Mustangs would come back to tie things up and send the game into overtime.
Both teams had scoring chances before Rodriguez netted the game winner.
It was a big win for Viera, which lost to Merritt Island by one goal in the regular season last year and again in the district final.
And just like last year, Viera and Merritt Island appear to be destined to meet up again, this time with the district championship on the line.
“We expect us (to play) here against Merritt Island again, and I expect it will be just that tough,” Crawford said. “They’re a tough team.”
That’s what made Wednesday night’s win so important for the Hawks as they continue to work toward what they hope will be a deep postseason run.
“It’s nice to have the momentum going into the playoffs that we beat them by one,” Crawford said. “And for us … we didn’t play well and still won. That’s a good feeling.”