MELBOURNE When the ball flew off her foot and hit the back of the net, Tori Clark couldn’t even believe there were still 38 minutes on the clock.
The Viera senior had scored what would turn out to be the winning goal for the Hawks,cheap jerseys fewer than 120 seconds into the 4 0 Class 4A championship win over Pembroke Pines Charter on Saturday.
Viera, however, wasn’t finished. Holly Knight, Nicki Fisher and Hope Leonard added goals of their own as the team won its first state title, adding a third school team championship to those won by the Hawks girls golf team in 2010 and 2014.
“It’s so surreal,” Leonard said. “I’m going to get home, and it’s going to hit me and I’m going to freak out.”
In winning, Viera took its place in a Brevard County state championship tradition that includes 10 girls title. The Hawks had never been past the regional semifinals while failing to get past Merritt Island (2009) and Melbourne (2010, ’11, ’12 and ’14) on the bracket.
MORE: Viera state title history
With 25 minutes left in the regional final eight days ago, it seemed unlikely this year would be much better, Viera trailing Mitchell High by two goals on the road before a comeback sent the Hawks (20 2) to the Eastern Florida State College field where they would win it all.
Despite that close call, Viera coach Courtney Lundy said she knew her team could put on the dominating performance it did against the Jaguars (21 2 1).
“With the way we’ve been playing the last couple of weeks, yes,” she said. “I had no doubt in my mind.”
On Clark’s goal, she “popped out of the box, and I lifted it right over the keeper. It was the best feeling in the world,” she said. “I looked at the clock and it said ’38,’ and I thought, ‘are you kidding me?’ “
MORE: Viera’s 4A semifinal victory
Brookelyn Walsh and Leonard assisted on goals in the game. The Viera defense didn’t allow much of a chance for the Jaguars to threaten Hawks goalkeeper Sydney Lau, but when they did, she picked up a save.
“We play defense as a team, from forwards all the way back to defenders,” Lundy said. For defense, the coach had a plan, for the water bath her players gave her after the win, she didn’t.