Mountain View field hockey coach Kimmy Sullivan always preaches second-chance scoring opportunities, but her Wildcats take the sermons a bit more seriously when preparing to face Stafford and stifling goalie Caitlyn Kahn.

“We are almost 100 percent certain that’s she’s going to stop the first shot,” Sullivan said. “Who’s going to be there next?”

Lizzie Ranberger and Mackenzie Proffitt availed themselves for second-half goals, and the Wildcats rebounded from the loss of standout Kendall Cooke with a 2–0 victory over the Indians in Thursday’s Region 5D championship game.

Cooke, a junior midfielder, tore the ACL in her right knee almost exactly a year after suffering the same injury in her other leg. Sullivan was forced to shuffle her lineup on short notice, inserting sophomore Hannah Gautreaux in the defensive midfield and shifting a midfielder to defense.

“Kendall was a big part of our team—she still is—and I love her like a sister,” said Ranberger, who referred to Cooke as the Wildcats’ “hype person.” “I think we just want to do well for her.”

By halftime, Mountain View hadn’t allowed a shot and held a commanding 6–0 edge in corners. But Kahn, who finished with nine saves, didn’t allow the Wildcats (18–2) to realize those advantages on the scoreboard.

“We had to rip shot after shot,” said Proffitt, who also supplied an assist. “And we just had to be there after they dropped off her pads.”

Finally, off a corner at the 14:53 mark of the second half, a lurking Ranberger got her stick on a drive and redirected it past Kahn for a 1–0 lead. Despite earning its own corner almost immediately following the score, Stafford (17–3) couldn’t find an equalizer.

“We’re just going to continue to work on our game plan,” Stafford coach Robin Woodie said. “We need to generate offense. We’re extremely young up there.”

Proffitt’s tally effectively sealed the outcome, putting the Wildcats up 2–0 with 1:09 to play.

Both teams advance to next week’s Class 5 state tournament, with Mountain View hosting a quarterfinal and Stafford playing on the road. The games will be played on either Monday or Tuesday, depending on weather.

Rain fell steadily throughout Thursday’s contest, but neither precipitation nor physical pain could dampen Mountain View’s title aspirations.

“I would say after Kendall’s injury, I could kind of see our faces come down a little bit,” Sullivan said. “But after tonight I think they realized we can still do this,” Sullivan said. “We still have a ton of talent and potential on that team. They don’t want to stop.”

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Joey LoMonaco: 540/368-5045

jlomonaco@freelancestar.com

@joeylomonaco

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