Frustration grew as the temperature dropped.
The Mesa Mountain View girls soccer team kept peppering, hounding and harvesting themselves scoring opportunities left and right at Mesa Dobson on Monday night. Balls missed by a foot in all directions, hit the goal post or were stopped by a couple of terrific saves.
Yet the scoreboard refused to budge for either side. That is, until overtime.
Brian Ronin pleaded with his Toro team to keep its cool, which wasn’t hard to do with the howling winds, but Mountain View kept prying and finally bore goals in a 2-0 overtime victory.
Though the Mustangs (7-8-2, 3-1-0) had a chance to win the East Valley Region on its home field — quite an accomplishment given the prowess of the Toros (12-6-1, 2-1-0) and Mesa Red Mountain this season — the region is now nearly a three-way logjam at the top.
If tiebreakers are needed, Red Mountain’s strength in the power point would prevail, but all three teams will be in the state tournament beginning next week.
“If someone made a bet with me that we’d be in a tie to win the region, I wouldn’t have guessed it this year,” Dobson coach Greg Johnson said, noting his youthful roster and amount of talent lost from last season.
It was another Kevin Sullivan donation game, in which money was collected to help the Toros’ coach in his struggle against leukemia.
The three officials who worked this match donated their paychecks on the spot following the game.
The Toros were stonewalled by Dobson goalie Adrienne Prince for more than 45 minutes, whose 11 saves on the night single-handedly kept Dobson alive.
But the good fortune finally ran out at the end of the first overtime. Freshman forward Jessy Muggy’s aggressiveness set up a corner kick with two minutes remaining in the first of two extra sessions, and Jennifer Larsen’s header found the right corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
A primary victim of Prince’s abilities, senior forward Regan Clifford finally got one to go her way in the closing minute of the second overtime when she found the lower corner from 15 yards out to seal the victory.
“We’ve been in a lot of competitive games, had opportunities and haven’t put them in,” Toros coach Brian Ronan said. “That was my main talk all game was about avoiding the frustration and keeping heads in the game.”
Goals figure to be a rare commodity once next week’s tournament begins, and that made Mountain View feel better about itself as it walked off the field.
Even if it took two hours to make it happen.
“Eventually, thank goodness, we did it twice,” Ronan said.