Mountain Lions look ready for playoffs against Nighthawks - The Explorer: Sports

Mountain Lions look ready for playoffs against Nighthawks

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:00 am | Updated: 2:01 pm, Thu Jan 31, 2013.

When Justene Kesterson fell after contact with Morgan Sibson of Ironwood Ridge in the second half, a fall which also dislodged one of her shoes, it marked one of the few times all night that Kesterson had been denied by the Nighthawks’ defense.

Mountain View’s senior soccer star had already scored two goals in the first half, and went on to score two more in the second half en route to a four-goal night, as Mountain View defeated their neighborhood rivals, the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks, 4-1.

“We came in thinking it would be close,” Kesterson said. “Thursday versus Pinnacle got us prepared. (Pinnacle) is a fast team. Their speed got us prepared.”

Pinnacle had defeated Mountain View on Thursday, 4-1, as they finished (16-2-1) and were the top-ranked team in the state, according to MaxPreps.

The win propelled the fifth-seeded Mountain Lions (10-3, 5-0 in league) into Tuesday’s Division I playoff opener versus 12th-seeded Chandler, which was played Tuesday night. Results were not available at press time.

Kesterson started the scoring with a goal in the fifth minute.

The Nighthawks mounted a flurry near the Mountain Lions’ net with about 20 minutes left, but were unable to connect. Just a couple minutes later, Kesterson got loose on a breakaway for her second goal with 20:08 left in the first half for a 2-0 Mountain View lead.

“Our midfield is young,” said Ironwood Ridge coach Sean Watkins. “Our midfield didn’t deal with the space well.”

Watkins wasn’t that concerned about the loss itself.

“I have confidence going into state,” he said.

Watkins was more interested in how this would impact the Nighthawks’ playoff positioning. He assumed that they would get a road playoff game, but they end up with a higher seed than their first-round opponent. The Nighthawks finished (13-6-3 and 4-1-2 in league) and were seeded sixth in Division II and were slated to play No. 11 Glendale Kellis at Catalina Foothills on Tuesday. However, results were not available at press time.

Despite being dominated in the first half by the Mountain Lions, the Nighthawks got a late score to get back into the game just before halftime.

Kesterson got another opportunity that could’ve made it 3-0, but her shot was blocked on a diving stop by goalie Megan Logue in the 32nd minute.

Ironwood Ridge’s Madi Kinzer scored a clutch goal with only 2:52 remaining to cut the deficit to 2-1.

In a first half in which the Mountain Lions outshot the Nighthawks 5-1, the Nighthawks were still very much alive going into halftime.

However, when the second half started, the Nighthawks’ offense looked lost and confused. They did not mount a threat throughout the first 20 minutes. Overall, they were outshot 10-3 by the Mountain Lions.

“They did a great job defensively,” Watkins said.

Mountain View’s freshman goalkeeper Felicity Tarr knew that she got help from her teammates.

“I was happy with them,” Tarr said. “Karina Gabino was very good.”

Did the Pinnacle game sharpen the Mountain Lions and prepare them for their always-tough league rival?

“We had more energy,” Tarr said. “I was pumped. The Pinnacle game helped me a lot, being a freshman.”

The Mountain Lions put the game away when Kesterson scored her third goal on an assist from Maitlyn Davisworth in the 51st minute to make it 3-1. Kesterson’s final goal was assisted by Madison Pederson.

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