Last-minute penalty gives Mountain View girls 2nd soccer win

Mountain View needs to win each of its last three Intermountain Conference matches to have a shot at reaching the girls soccer postseason. Yet the Cougars, Donnie Emerson said, were not going to wait until their next conference matchup to play with that mindset.

Instead, Mountain View began its urgency play Thursday in a nonconference contest against visiting Putnam — and it paid off.

After trailing by a goal at the half, Mountain View rallied over the final 20 minutes of the match, and a penalty kick goal by Rosalie Mendez with 20 seconds remaining completed the Cougars’ 2-1 comeback win.

“We needed a win,” said Emerson, the Cougars’ coach. “With 20 minutes left, the game was tied, and we played like it was a league game we needed to win. We started sending numbers forward and got a lot of opportunities. We were pretty determined to get the W today.”

Kaiah Higa scored in the 63rd minute off a Mendez assist to bring Mountain View (2-6-2 overall) even with Putnam.

Over the next 16 minutes, the Cougars pressed ahead in search of the go-ahead goal. Several golden scoring opportunities came up empty, including one shot by Parker Gribskov that caromed off the crossbar.

With less than a minute remaining, however, Mountain View’s aggressiveness paid off when Mendez broke away for the potential game winner and was awarded a penalty after she was taken down in the box by a Putnam defender. With 20 seconds to play, Mendez cashed in to lift the Cougars to their first win in four matches.

After Saturday’s nonconference match against Corvallis, Mountain View will return to IMC play next week. If the Cougars win all three — against Redmond, Bend and Summit — they could finish in the top three of the IMC standings to earn a spot in the Class 5A play-in round.

It is a tall order, Emerson conceded, but, “today was a big step for us.”

Bulletin Staff Report