Viera Girls Soccer Team Wins Second Consecutive State Championship, Defeats Niceville 2-1
By Alan Zlotorzynski // February 6, 2016
Class 4A state champions beat 23-0 Niceville
ABOVE VIDEO: Viera Hawks senior and UCF Knight committ, Jordan Walsh, scored the game winning, championship winning goal, on Friday for her team in the Class 4A state championship game. Viera captured back to back titles with a 2-1 over the Niceville Eagles.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Despite suffering just one loss during the 2016 season, the 2015 state champion Viera Hawks girls’ soccer team was not the favorite to repeat this year. That designation belonged to St. Thomas Aquinas, who entered the postseason, as the nation’s No.1 team and dropped down from Class 5A, where they were the defending champions.
And if Viera did somehow get past the Raiders, they would then have to deal with the 23-0 Niceville Eagles.
Not only did they survive to beat St. Thomas 1-0 on Thursday night in a rarely seen battle between defending state champs, but a goal midway through the second half on Friday night vs. Niceville propelled the Hawks to a 2-1 victory and a second consecutive Class 4A state title at Melbourne High’s Tom McIntyre Stadium.
Both Hawk goals came after brief goal crease scrambles, which didn’t allow the Niceville keeper to coral the ball. The first Viera goal was netted by senior Sarah Kelliher, and it put the Hawks up 1-0 with 13:08 to play in the first half.
The goal was especially sweet for the senior, who missed last year’s run to the state championship because she was recovering from a torn knee ligament.
“I didn’t get to play in this game last year, so this is very sweet for me and winning the title realizes a goal I set this time last year—to be back here playing in the championship game this year with my team,” Kelliher said.
ABOVE VIDEO: Viera Hawks senior Sarah Kelliher talks about scoring the first goal of the game and winning back-to-back titles.
Niceville would tie the contest a few minutes later, and just as St. Thomas did in the semifinal game, control much of the action in the Viera zone for the rest of the first half and for much of the second half as well.
The Hawks, bent on many occasions throughout the two games. but they did not break.
With just 7:23 to play in the contest, senior Jordan Walsh lined up to take a free kick 70-feet away from the goal, and after bouncing off the head of an Eagles defender, the ball somehow found its way into the net for what turned out to be the game winning goal.
“It was a group effort, it was total team effort—if the ball didn’t go in on that play I know one of my teammates would have been there to knock it home,” said Walsh.
The clock took forever to tick off the final 443 seconds, but it did and the Hawks were back-to-back state champions.
Located in the Panhandle, Niceville traveled nearly eight hours to play in Melbourne. But the 18-minute trip from Viera to Babcock Street allowed for what amounted to a home game for Viera, and the support was overwhelming.
As those final seconds ticked off the clock the crowd of several hundred students, faculty and parents counted it down 3…2…1 and then the girls celebrated wildly.
ABOVE VIDEO: Viera Hawks head coach Courtney Baines Lundy, who is also a 2013 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductee, talks with Space Coast Daily following her teams back to back state title win.
If the childhood saying “It takes one to know one” is accurate, then so does “It takes one to build one.”
I’m speaking of course about 2013 Space Coast Sports Hall of Famer and current Viera Hawks girls’ soccer coach Courtney Baines-Lundy, who was a state champion herself when she played.
Leading the Viera Hawks to back-to-back state titles didn’t just happen.
Baines-Lundy has been playing or coaching on the pitches in Brevard County for quite a while. From 2008-2010, she was the head soccer coach at Eau Gallie High School. In addition, Coach Lundy was an assistant coach at Florida Tech from 2006 to 2008.
She starred as a forward for Satellite High School from 2000 to 2002, and helped lead the Scorpions to its first state championship in 2002.
Baines-Lundy would go on to be named the 2002 All-Space Coast Player of the Year and captained the 2002 squad, which would go down as the greatest team in school history.
That team was 29-1-1 and produced over a dozen Division I athletes. It was coached by the legendary Fitzgerald “Fidgi” Haig, who passed away suddenly at the age of 47 last year.
Baines-Lundy would go on to star at the University of Central Florida (2002-2006) and was an All-American and two-time Conference Defensive Player of the Year (A-Sun and Conference USA).
ABOVE VIDEO: The Viera Girls soccer team beat Niceville 2-1 to win a second consecutive state title at Melbourne High’s Tom McIntyre Stadium on Friday night.
The irony in this year’s team is that the team the Scorpions beat to win that title in 2002 was a team they weren’t supposed to beat then or in the semifinal game this year, St. Thomas Aquinas.
The player that scored the game-winning goal, Jordan Walsh, signed to play soccer at UCF this past Wednesday. Championships usually do involve irony and it will be interesting to see what happens next year. This year will be tough to top.
Walsh said the team motto in 2016 was “Leave No Doubt.” If beating three undefeated teams, and the No.1 team in the country, leaves doubt about which team reigns supreme in 2016, then you haven’t watched these young ladies play soccer.
However, if you think the Viera girls’ soccer team is going away, think again. Not with Baines-Lundy at the helm and certainly not with 13 returning players next season. This squad graduates just four seniors and a Three Peat is not out of the question in 2017.
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ABOVE VIDEO: Viera Hawks striker Jordan Walsh scores what turned out to be the game-winning goal from 23 yards out in Friday night’s Class 4A state final game. The Hawks successfully defended their title from last season by closing out the Niceville Eagles 2-1 in the contest.
ABOVE VIDEO: Following an on field celebration, the back-to-back state girls soccer champions, the Viera Hawks, high five and celebrate with their hundreds of fans.
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