Merritt Island tops Viera in entertaining match

Hawks play well in Wayne’s return, but fall 3-1


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Viera's Shaine Horvath delivers a kill against the Merritt Island defense during Thursday night's match. The Hawks lost to the visiting Mustangs in four sets.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Welcome back, Sarah Wayne.

The Viera High volleyball coach, who had been out on maternity leave, returned to the bench Thursday night, just in time for a big matchup against the always powerful Merritt Island Mustangs.

“It feels good to be in the gym, and it feels good to be around them,” Wayne said. “Volleyball’s such a part of my life, so it’s (good to be back).”

Unfortunately for the Hawks, it was Merritt Island that would end up   celebrating at the end of the night after a hard-fought 25-21, 25-27, 25-12, 25-22 victory.

Ali McLoughlin had 15 kills and Maddie Day and Kaitlyn Jensen each had seven for Viera, which fell to 10-1 on the season.

Nina Alvarez had 33 assists, 12 digs and three aces.

Day and Emma Redmon each had 12 digs. Jensen and Tory Kolasky each had two blocks.

Outside of the third set, which Merritt Island dominated, it was a close, back-and-forth match that was certainly entertaining.

The Hawks led midway through the fourth set and wanted oh so much to push the match to a deciding fifth set. However, the Mustangs would rally to tie things up at 22-22, then scored the final three points to close things out.

Despite the loss, Wayne – who got a big welcome back cheer from the crowd – saw plenty of things the Hawks can build from.

“We’re young,” she said. “Really, my only expectation coming into tonight was just to enjoy the girls, enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy a really good game.

“I know my players, but at the same time, not being here, I just wanted them to have fun and just compete. I can’t ask for anything else.”