Hawks rise to challenge, top Holy Trinity in four sets


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Members of the Viera High volleyball team celebrate winning a point during an entertaining fourth set that saw the Hawks eventually prevail 28-26 to close out Holy Trinity Wednesday night.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

After losing last week’s match against Merritt Island, Viera High volleyball coach Sarah Wayne challenged her players to step up their play.

And step it up, they did.

In a dramatic fourth set that saw the score tied 12 times, the Hawks outlasted the visiting Holy Trinity Tigers to complete a 25-6, 19-25, 25-18, 28-26 victory.

“I’m very proud of the way they played,” Viera coach Sarah Wayne said. “I’m very proud of Sydney (Williams) and of Hannah (Bradford). Those are the two that stepped up when I asked them to.

“It’s a work in progress to get ready for the end of the season.”

Williams, a sophomore outside hitter, led Viera (4-1) with 17 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Mak Carter had 13 kills and one block. Junior setter Kelly Merz had 32 assists and three aces. Freshman setter Mallory Merz had nine assists.

Bradford, a junior libero, had 29 digs and a team-high six aces.

“It was a great match,” Bradford said. “I think at the end we really played together as a team. Holy Trinity’s a great team. They always give us great competition every year so it was great to have that win.”

As for the challenge put forth by her coach, Bradford said she was definitely thinking about it as the Hawks sought to break a four-match losing streak to the Tigers.

“I always have that in the back of my head, whatever she says to me,” Bradford said. “I’m always trying to get better.”

While the Hawks were celebrating their hard-fought win, the Tigers (4-1) were feeling let down by their serving and receiving performance in their first loss of the season.

“Our ball-control was sub-standard,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski said. “We had some costly serving errors late in sets. Honestly, right now we’re struggling in a lot of parts of the game. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Given that the Tigers have only four returners from last year and eight new players, it’s a given the team might go through a few ups and downs during the early part of the season.

Outside of the first set, when Viera ran off the final 15 points to win it going away, the Tigers were very competitive with the Hawks, but simply made too many mistakes as Viera stepped up its play.

“That fourth set could have gone either way and then you get yourself in the fifth set and it’s anything goes,” Klonowski said. “Obviously, we were unprepared for the first set, without a doubt. Unfortunately, that has become a … pattern, for lack of a better word.

“We’ve come out that way several times this season and it needs to stop.”

Senior outside hitter Olivia Yochim led the Tigers (4-1) with eight kills and two aces. Sophomore outside hitter Sophia Panarese had seven kills and two blocks. Senior middle blocker Mackenzie Sands also had seven kills.

Senior setter Taylor Mullen had 25 assists, 10 digs and two aces. Freshman libero Maya Collins had 18 digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Kareena Mathews had two aces. Middle blocker Isabelle Clark, an eighth grader, had two blocks.

The Tigers will face another tough challenge when they host Merritt Island Saturday at 2 p.m.

Viera is on the road tonight against Melbourne.

“We set a goal after Merritt Island to not let our game go down,” Bradford said. “We’re on that up-streak. We have Melbourne (tonight) so we’re going to be excited for that.”