Hawks use big second half to rout Rockledge 18-3


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Viera's Micki Pippett scored six goals Thursday night as the Hawks beat Rockledge 18-3 in their district opener.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Nothing says you’ve just played a good game like the coach telling you there’s no practice tomorrow.

And that’s exactly what Viera High girls lacrosse coach Nick Bigerton told his players after Thursday night’s 18-3 win over Rockledge in their Class 1A, District 11 opener.

“I’m so excited,” Viera senior Grace Blythe grinned. “We never get days off.”

Sophomore Micki Pippett had six goals and an assist to lead the Hawks (5-1).

Blythe, Brianna Staerk and Tristen Chang all had three goals. Chang also had five assists while Blythe had two and Staerk had one. Nicole Blanchard and Lia Arbeeny both had a goal and an assist. Sammie Pippet also had an assist.

“I think we played really well,” Blythe said. “I think we were a little sloppy in the first half, but we definitely brought it back in the second half and worked as a team.”

The numbers back up that point.

Although Viera dominated the number of shots taken in the first half, the Hawks lead was just 7-2 at the break thanks in part to some nice stops by Rockledge’s goalie and some shots that were just off the mark.

That changed in the second half, as the Hawks outscored the Raiders 11-1, using a more controlled offensive attack.

Viera also got a strong defensive effort throughout the night.

“Tonight, was a good game,” Bigerton said. “I think the first half, our offense had some yips. … I think we psyched ourselves out. It was strange. The girls know they have it. I don’t know if it was it was because it was the first district game and had some weight to it, but they just came out slow.

“Then they started to pick it up. The second half was a little back-and-forth and then we just pulled away with it.”

After enjoying their Friday off, the Hawks will be on the road for two key district games next week. Viera will play at Edgewood (4-0) on Tuesday and at Merritt Island (3-2) on Thursday before playing a non-district game on Friday at Holy Trinity (2-2).

Those games will give the two-time district champion Hawks a chance to continue to work on continuing to improve their game, particularly with the postseason in mind where they could potentially be facing some of the state’s top teams.

“We want to slow it down. We want to make it methodical. We want to run our offense,” Bigerton said. “These games are chances for our girls to get better because we’re going to be playing tough teams and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for that.”