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Mountain View’s win over Kelso sends Thunder back to 3A state football playoffs for first time since 2019

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BATTLEFIELD — A berth in the Class 3A girls soccer state playoffs was in sight for Mountain View after they took a halftime lead.

Then came the second goal just minutes into the second half of Thursday’s bi-county game against Kelso.

The only thing left for the Thunder was to put together a full 80-minute game, and that was theirs.

Five days after a winner-takes-all loss to state that slightly extended Mountain View’s trip to state, the Thunder beat the Highlanders 2-0 at District Stadium for its first state playoff berth from 2019.

Audrey Dizon’s goal in first-half stoppage time, assisted by Morrison Armenta, gave Mountain View the lead in the locker room. Just four minutes into the second half, Lauryn Crit scored off a feed from Teagan Irwin to extend the lead.

The Thunder’s defense and goalkeeper Annie Qualls did the rest, keeping Kells out of the net despite several attacks from the Hilanders that threatened to reduce the deficit.

“It was a nail-biting game all the way down, really,” Dizon said. “Scoring (to) half time just gave us the motivation to keep pushing and I think from that moment we saw how close we were to achieving status and just broke through. We did it as a team, which I liked. I’m just really proud of us.”

Mountain View’s win over Kelso was the second of the season as the Thunder compiled an undefeated record and won the 3A Greater St. Helens League.

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 lost 1-0, meaning they needed two more wins to advance to the state round of 16.

“We just kept going,” Krit said. “We didn’t give up.”

In fact, the Peninsula game probably made them stronger. Mountain View responded with a 7-0 win over Thomas Jefferson in a no-hitter on Tuesday to set up a winner-takes-all state game on Thursday.

“At the end of the day, it gave us confidence,” Johnson said. “Sometimes a loss can really be a step in the right direction.”

Mountain View will find out its opponent in the first round of the state playoffs when seeding is finalized Sunday.

Seniors Maya Nguyen and Eva Andrews were a part The 2019 Thunder team that reached the quarterfinalsbut everyone else on the roster will experience 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 very happy with our team and how we performed. I’m just happy to keep going.”

“Honestly, it’s such a great group of girls to work with,” Johnson added. “All year long they worked hard and put in effort. Just glad to see it paid off for them in the end.”

Kelso, meanwhile, will face Auburn Mountainview on Saturday in the winner-takes-all game.

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