Hawks now 3-0 after impressive win over Lake Minneola


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Viera High's Stephen McHale (center) scores on a header during Saturday's game against Lake Minneola. The Hawks would win 3-0.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera High boys soccer team put on a dominating performance Saturday afternoon.

And the Hawks weren’t even at full strength.

Stephen McHale and Zachary Nielsen scored in the first half and John Anasa added a goal in the second as Viera defeated Lake Minneola 3-1 in a game played at Viera Regional Park.

“I think we did pretty good,” McHale said. “We dominated in the midfield. We moved the ball nicely, got it into the areas we wanted to get it into.

“We played well as a team and we were able to capitalize on our shots and finishes and finished the game off.”

Saturday’s win was a bit of revenge for the Hawks, who lost to Lake Minneola 1-0 on a goal in the closing moments of their Class 4A regional quarterfinal in the 2017-18 season. The two teams played again last season with Viera taking a 1-0 lead only to lose 2-1.

“Today, the boys were hungry and showed resilience,” Viera coach Nick Robinson said. “I thought once we got the second (goal), I thought we were going to be able to close out the game pretty comfortably.”

Viera is now 3-0 on the season with impressive wins over West Shore and Lake Minneola (2-1).

And the Hawks are doing it without several of their top players.

Mads Jensen, Kia Mohajeri and Nyles Lockridge have all been out with injuries and Viera lost another key player, Tibor Susanj, to an injury during the first 10 minutes of the Lake Minneola game.

“It says a lot about this team,” Robinson said. “It’s a hungry team, more than anything, I think.”

Viera dominated possession throughout the game, taking a 1-0 lead on a perfect header by McHale.

Nielsen would make it 2-0 going into the half and Anasa erased any doubt when he put the Hawks up 3-0.

“Since we fell short to them a couple of times, we just wanted to get back at them, show them that we’re better than them and that we can compete and that we’re a good team,” McHale said.

With big games against Cape Coast Conference rivals Rockledge (Tuesday) and at Merritt Island (Thursday) coming up this week, Saturday’s win should give the Hawks plenty of confidence.

“I thought it was a good team performance all around,” Robinson said. “A lot of what we do always comes down to our defensive display. We’ve got a very good back line again. We’re fortunate to always have pretty good defenders.

“Stephen McHale is obviously one. We’ve got Evan Kirrane, he’s a 10th grader. Kyle (Hupfer) ended up slotting back to left-center back when Tibor went off injured. All three of those guys were really good today.

“Then, you go into the middle of the park, and that’s where I thought we actually won the game today. Pat Murtha, Alex (McCormick) and Zach all had very good games today to help us get over the edge.

“Again, it was a really good team performance. If we can play like that, consistently like we did today, I think we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the year.”