Hawks return from break with 3-0 win over Satellite
Viera High's Tibor Susanj (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal in Wednesday night's 3-0 victory over Satellite.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
The Viera High boys soccer team came back from the winter break in style Wednesday night.
Tibor Susanj scored the first goal, Stephen McHale added two more and the Viera defense came up big as the Hawks defeated visiting Satellite 3-0.
“It was good to come off on top,” McHale said. “We needed that, especially in our first game back. It’s a good boost for us.”
The Hawks improved to 10-1 this season despite continuing to navigate through a number of injuries to key players.
Junior Nyles Lockridge is out for the season, seniors Kia Mohajeri and Mads Jensen are still trying to come back from their injuries and the team was also without senior Alex McCormick Wednesday night.
“We had three seniors out tonight, but like I’ve said, it’s a group of boys that continue to do the job,” Hawks coach Nick Robinson said. “That’s the biggest part. Everyone steps in and guys are doing their jobs.
“Tonight, was a good example. It’s a good Satellite team. I think they’re having one of the best years they’ve had in the last four or five (years). They were (7-1-1).
“To beat them 3-0 tonight and give a display like we gave, I’m proud of the boys.”
Robinson cited a long list of players who have been stepping up for the Hawks this season, including senior Mathew Kowlessar.
“He’s taken on a big role this year and stepped in with leadership and with his performances,” Robinson said. “He’s been a big factor in why we’re doing well this year.”
Another senior, Pat Murtha, has also been playing a key role for Viera in controlling the middle of the field. Freshman Bora Turkmen was brought up from the JV team and has been playing between 15-30 minutes a game.
And then there is sophomore Jack Koegel, whose versatility has been a big asset.
“The work rate from all the guys that have been stepping is kind of what they’re setting as the standard, and then the rest is falling into place,” Robinson said.
The Hawks got on the board with 2:48 remaining in the first half as Susanj was able to finish in a crowd in front of the net.
McHale then made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second half when he was able to take advantage of one of his best skills – the header.
“I love them,” McHale said. “That’s my favorite thing to do … just put it away.”
The final goal came on a ball sent into the box that Murtha was able to get a touch on, setting up McHale to slot it into the back of the net.
With the Hawks up 3-0, the rest was up to the defense led by junior goalkeeper Andrew Sanger.
“Andrew probably had the best game he’s had in a Viera top tonight,” Robinson said. “To keep a clean sheet for him, I think was important, especially to start off the spring semester.
“Stephen scored twice. When you’ve got your captain and your leader at the back who’s keeping clean sheets and he’s scoring two goals a game … you can’t ask for much more.”
The Hawks will return to action on Monday when they travel to Palm Bay before returning home next Wednesday in a huge district matchup against rival Melbourne.
Whether or not the Hawks will be able to get Jensen or Mohajeri back by then remains to be seen, but the expectation is Viera will have them for the postseason which would be a big boost.
In the meantime, Viera is getting some big play from a number of people stepping into bigger roles.
“It’s a little tough having (Mohajeri and Jensen) out, but we have players that are able to come off the bench and just do their jobs,” McHale said. “They’ve been working hard at practice for this opportunity, they’ve been given it and they’ve been doing good.”