In case anyone has forgotten, the Viera Hawks showed just how dangerous their offense can be on any given night.
Sophomore Mikkel Jensen scored twice and junior Max May had a goal and an assist as the Hawks dominated a key Class 6A, District 7 matchup against arch rival Melbourne on the way to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night in Viera.
The Hawks (12-0-1), who were coming off a scoreless tie against Holy Trinity, created a number of scoring chances throughout the night and came away with the win despite missing on at least five other golden scoring opportunities in front of the net, most of them coming in the first half.
“I was very happy with our ability to get into some very good goal scoring opportunities early in the game,” Viera coach Nick Robinson wrote in a text.
“However, when we look back at the game film, I think we will say we could have been more composed and clinical in front of goal. With that being said, I thought we were resilient in the attacking areas and kept creating chances as the game went on.”
The win allowed Viera to take command of first place in the district standings with wins over the two teams who are expected to be their biggest challengers – Melbourne and Heritage.
And once again, it was a complete team effort.
“We had some very strong performances from specific individuals such as Jake Medina, Mikkel Jensen, Max May and Max Walker,” Robinson said. “We have also had players such as Xavier (Jackson) and Vinnie (Riggenbach) now stepping into a new rolls in the lineup and getting more and more comfortable as the season goes on.
“I think we are now heading in the right direction needed defensively to make a deep season run. However, we still have plenty of room to grow and areas we can tweak and get better in such as cleaning up our build up out of the back.”
After failing to convert on a scoring opportunity early in the game, the Hawks got on the board just before the first half water break when Max Walker headed a ball to May down the right sideline. As May closed in, the Melbourne keeper came out to try to make a play on the ball. May was able to get around him and put the ball into the open net for a 1-0 Viera lead.
The Hawks would generate more scoring opportunities, but one shot went over the crossbar, another was denied on a great kick save by Melbourne’s keeper and another shot hit off the post.
It appeared those missed opportunities might cost the Hawks when Melbourne was able to take advantage of a long throw in to tie the game at 1-1 on a header with just under 25 minutes remaining.
However, the Hawks would answer six minutes later on a long throw by Jake Brown that led to a hard shot by Medina. The ball was blocked, but the rebound went right to Jensen, who found the back of the net and the Hawks had the lead once again.
Viera would then make a 3-1 game when Alex Bennett took the ball around midfield and sent the ball downfield to May, who was breaking open. May drew the keeper out, then sent the ball wide to Jensen, who was in perfect position to collect his second goal of the night.
It was a big win for the Hawks, who are the top-ranked team in Region 2 and No. 7 overall in the latest MaxPreps rankings, which were released Thursday.
The only other Region 2 team ranked in the top 10 is New Smyrna Beach (11-0-1) at No. 9. Melbourne (8-3) is the next-highest rated Region 2 team, coming in at No. 15.
That could all bode well for a Viera team that is looking to get back to the final four for the third year in a row and also hoping to get another crack at the Class 6A state championship.
“Ideally, if we can continue on this path and take care of business at the latter end of the season it would be nice to put ourselves in the same situation as last year and lock in home-field advantage after districts, which is hosted at Melbourne this season,” Robinson said.
“It is easy to get beyond the moment and get excited with the postseason, but we are still taking it game by game as a unit and allowing players who have embraced new roles on the team to continue growing, whilst also incorporating a few players back into the rotation who are due back soon.”