BATTLE GROUND — A spot in the Class 3A state girls soccer playoffs was in Mountain View’s sight after taking a lead into halftime.
Then came a second goal just a few minutes into the second half of Thursday’s bi-district game against Kelso.
The only thing left for the Thunder to do was put together a complete, 80-minute game and it was theirs.
Five days removed from a winner-to-state loss that made Mountain View’s path to state a little longer, the Thunder’s 2-0 win over the Hilanders at District Stadium clinched their first state playoff berth since 2019.
Audrey Dizon’s goal in first-half stoppage time, assisted by Marison Armenta, allowed Mountain View to head into the locker room with the lead. Just four minutes into the second half, Lauryn Krith scored on a feed from Teaghan Irvin to add to the lead.
The Thunder defense and goalkeeper Ani Qualls handled the rest by keeping Kelso out of the net despite several Hilanders attacks threatening to cut into the deficit.
“It was a nail-biting game until the end, really,” Dizon said. “The goal (before) half just gave us the motivation to keep pushing through and I think from there, we saw how close we were to getting to state and just pushed through. We did it as a team, which I loved. I’m just really proud of us.”
Mountain View’s win over Kelso was its second of the season as the Thunder put together an undefeated record to win the 3A Greater St. Helens League title outright.
They were awarded the No. 4 seed for the bi-district tournament and a home game against No. 5 Peninsula, which Mountain View coach Dustin Johnson called “one of the best teams in the state.”
The Thunder suffered a 1-0 loss, which meant needing two additional wins to reach the state’s final 16.
“We just kept going,” Krith said. “We didn’t give up.”
In fact, playing Peninsula likely made them stronger. Mountain View responded with a 7-0 win over Thomas Jefferson in a loser-out game Tuesday to set up Thursday’s winner-to-state game.
“It actually gave us confidence in the end,” Johnson said. “Sometimes losses can actually be a step in the right direction.”
Mountain View will find out its first-round opponent for the state playoffs when seedings are finalized Sunday.
Seniors Mya Nguyen and Eva Andrews were part of the 2019 Thunder team that reached the quarterfinals, but everyone else on the roster will be experiencing the atmosphere of a state playoff game for the first time.
“It’s a great group of girls to go through state with,” Dizon said. “I’m really happy with our team and how we performed. I’m just excited to keep going.”
“They’re honestly such a great group of girls to work with,” Johnson added. “All year long they’ve really put in the work and the effort. Just glad to see it pay off in the end for them.”
Kelso, meanwhile, will face Auburn Mountainview on Saturday in a winner-to-state game.