Hawks, Tigers play entertaining game that ends in 1-1 tie
Viera's Lucas Patikas (left) heads the ball as teammate Patrick Murtha and HolyTrinity's Eddie Marr look on during Saturday night's game between the two schools. The game ended in a 1-1 tie.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
The Viera Hawks and the Holy Trinity Tigers took the field Saturday night in the latest chapter of what has become quite an entertaining boys soccer rivalry.
And in a game that certainly had its dramatic moments, the two sides played to a 1-1 tie that elicited two completely different reactions.
“Tonight, was insane,” Holy Trinity coach Adrian Moreno said. “This is the craziest game of soccer that I’ve been a part of as a coach, even as a player, probably.
“To go against a big school like Viera, knowing the boys know players on both teams. They’re NPL quality players, and then I’ve got my group here, a mix of players. It was crazy.
“I would take my team 10 out of 10 times against any team in the state. Every time.”
It was the second straight tie against a much bigger school in as many nights for the Tigers. Holy Trinity (5-4-4), which plays in Class 3A, tied Centennial (Class 7A) 3-3 on Friday night before following it up with a 1-1 draw against the Class 6A Hawks.
Eddie Marr scored the for the Tigers on a penalty kick with 23:55 remaining in regulation after the Hawks were called for a handball in the box.
It almost became 2-0 Holy Trinity when the Tigers were able to get off a long shot toward an open net. However, Viera’s Stephen McHale was able to move in and head the ball away to keep it a one-goal game.
Moments later, Viera’s Lucas Patikas scored to tie the score.
The draw left the Hawks with a record of 15-1-2.
“I think we controlled the tempo for almost the entire first half,” Viera coach Nick Robinson said. “The first half, I was really proud of the boys. We moved the ball well. (To say) we maybe didn’t capitalize on the amount of possession we had is probably fair.
“Coming into the second half, we obviously expected a little reaction from them. I think the longer we kept them hanging around, the more fight they had in those last 20 minutes of the game.
“Credit to them. They stuck to it and they got their opportunity. For me, it was a dubious penalty, but you’ve got to deal with it. We made mistakes in the lead up to that goal.”
Both teams played outstanding defense Saturday night to negate the other’s attack. Holy Trinity relied on its backline of Lucas Dutra, Ty Schrumpf, Will bell and Brooks Taylor in front of goalkeeper James Linnabary.
“My defense stepped up,” Moreno said. “We had eight days of practice and we worked on my backline moving up back and forth. Someone told me if the defensive line is flat, we’re dead, so my boys have learned that they need to be structured and jig-sawed a little bit.
“They’re working hard together and they’re gelling. They’re gelling well.”
Viera, meanwhile, also got a strong game from McHale, Tibor Susanj and Evan Kirrane in front of goalkeeper Andew Sanger.
The Hawks were playing without injured seniors Mathew Kowlessar and Marcus Westley, who are out for the year. They joined a list of injured Hawks that also includes Kia Mohajeri and Nyles Lockridge.
Senior Mads Jensen, meanwhile, has returned to action and is working his way back after missing most of the season with an injury. He will certainly make them more dangerous once he is up to full speed.
With the playoffs approaching, Saturday night’s game gave both teams something to work with in the hopes of making a deep postseason run.
“This group, we’re definitely resilient,” Robinson said. “In emotional games, we just need to keep learning from them and not letting our emotion get the best of us.
“We do that occasionally. We’re definitely maturing a bit, but that’s going to be the topic of discussion in these next 8-10 days for us as we go into the playoffs.
“I’m extremely confident with this group of boys. For me, we’ve gotten better and better as the season has gone on.”
The Hawks, who are the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A, District 12 playoffs, have a first-round bye and will play either Harmony or Martin County in the semifinals. That game is set for Feb. 4 at 5 p.m. at Melbourne.
Holy Trinity, meanwhile, is the No. 3 seed in Class 3A, District 10. The Tigers are scheduled to host John Carroll on Friday night at 6 p.m. And just like the Hawks, they will go into the postseason feeling good about themselves.
“There’s not going to be teams that are going to be as big as (Viera) and as good as that, so we’re confident going in,” Moreno said. “We have momentum going forward.”