Dramatic rally puts Viera girls soccer into Final Four

Hawks rally past Mitchell 4-3 in Class 4A regional final


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This celebration came after the Viera girls soccer team defeated Melbourne in the Class 4A regional semifinals Tuesday night. You can bet the players had a similar reaction after their dramatic come-from-behind victory against Mitchell Friday night put them in the state semifinals.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

It may be hard to guess what majors the players on the Viera High girls soccer team will study when they get to college, but if one had to guess right now, they will all take …

Drama.

After all, they’ve become quite good at it.

Trailing 3-1 with 25 minutes to go, the Hawks rallied for a 4-3 victory over host Mitchell (New Port Richey) in the Class 4A regional finals Friday night.

Viera (18-2) advances to the Final Four for the first time in school history. The Hawks will face Navarre, a 3-1 winner over Creekside, in the state semifinals next Friday (Feb. 6) at either 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. at Eastern Florida State College.

Senior forward Hope Leonard scored the game-winning goal for the Hawks with four minutes left. The assist went to teammate Nicki Fisher, who delivered a perfect cross from the right side that found Leonard wide open on the back post.

“Something we have worked on all year!” Hawks coach Courtney Lundy wrote in an email.

Mitchell (20-2), playing in its third consecutive regional final, led 1-0 at the half and scored on a penalty kick two minutes into the second half for a 2-0 lead. Viera would get its first goal from Tori Clark to cut the lead in half, but Mitchell would score again for a 3-1 lead with 25 minutes to play.

That’s when the Hawks really took it to another level.

Brookelyn Walsh scored with 20 minutes remaining. A goal by Hollyn Knight tied the score with 12 minutes to play and then Fisher found Leonard for the game-winner.

Fisher had three assists on the night. Jordan Walsh had the other.

Friday’s win came on the heels of an emotional regional semifinal against Melbourne, which the Hawks won 2-1 (4-3) on penalty kicks when goalkeeper Sydney Lau made a diving save on the Bulldogs’ final attempt.

Another night, another dramatic finish for Viera.

“The girls showed tremendous composure throughout the second half, being down by two goals twice,” Lundy wrote. “Mitchell was a very good team. When we went down 2-0, we stepped up our game and took control of the game. We were able to keep the ball in their half the majority of the second half and worked extremely hard to get the ball back when we lost it.

“I don't know if I can handle another game like this! Between Melbourne and Mitchell, it's been two games that you just can’t sit still!”