Hawks come up empty against Mustangs

Merritt Island hands Viera first loss of season


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Viera High's Caroline Boston heads the ball during Tuesday night's non-district soccer game between the Hawks and the Merritt Island Mustangs. The Mustangs won the game 1-0 to hand Viera its first loss of the season.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera High girls soccer team faced a big challenge Tuesday night.

And for the first time all season, the Hawks couldn’t find a way to overcome it.

But rather than dwell on Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss to the visiting Merritt Island Mustangs, Hawks coach Cal Dixon wants to see how his team responds after sustaining its first defeat of the season.

“Respect to Merritt Island,” Dixon said. “I used to coach there. I know some of the girls. Some of their girls play for me (at Space Coast United Soccer).

“I knew what they were going to do in terms of coming out, working hard and making it difficult for us. They did that. And we did not do enough to counter that. We knew what was going to happen, but we did not play well enough.

“We deserved to lose. They deserved to win.”

The Mustangs (11-2) scored the game’s only goal seven minutes into the second half on a perfect shot by senior Ashleigh Sweat that was drilled into the back of the net.

Viera (9-1-2) had several chances to score, including a nice cross into the box late in the game that went untouched by the Hawks as Merritt Island’s defense came up big when it had to.

The Hawks, who were missing one of their best defenders – Lauren Mieczkowski – certainly didn’t play poorly. They just couldn’t find a way to get one home against a very good Merritt Island team.

With four games remaining the regular season before the district tournament, Tuesday’s loss was another stark reminder to the Hawks of what can happen to them if they don’t bring their best game.

“I spoke to the girls at the end and I said, ‘Look, this could have been a lot worse. If this was a district game then you’re done. Your season’s over,’” Dixon said. “As far as losing, it’s not that bad. I think everybody needs to lose at some point.

“Now, it’s about the reaction. It’s about the reaction of an individual. It’s about the reaction of the team. It’s learning from what did we not do well enough to beat a good team.”

The first answer to that question should come in those final games – three of which are on the road – beginning with Thursday night’s game against Rockledge.

Viera is scheduled to play it’s final home game of the regular season next Tuesday against Space Coast before closing things out at Astronaut (Jan. 23) and Bayside (Jan. 28).