Mountain View fans cheered when goalkeeper Mia Morey touched the ball for the first time, prompting a wave and a smile from Morey. The biggest problem for Redmond? It did not happen until the 36th minute.

The Cougars (1-1-1) defeated the Panthers (1-2) 4-0 in a nonleague girls soccer game on a hazy Thursday afternoon at Mountain View High. Mountain View dominated possession throughout a game that never appeared close.

Sophomore forward Raelee Abbott got the scoring started for the Cougars in the 21st minute. Abbott was in the perfect spot, tapping a loose ball into an open goal with the Redmond keeper off her line. About nine minutes later, junior forward Kaiah Higa extended the Mountain View lead to 2-0 at the half, booting the ball in from just outside the box.

Mountain View put the clamps on Redmond for both 40-minute halves, preventing the Panthers from advancing the ball past midfield more than a handful of times.

First-year Cougars coach James Erickson said pressure has been a point of emphasis for the Cougars in practice.

“We’ve been working hard on getting the ball forward and into the opponent’s half,” Erickson said. “We like to keep constant pressure whether we have the ball or not, and I think that worked out today.”

In the second half, miscues from Redmond ­resulted in another pair of goals for a confident Mountain View side. In the 63rd minute, the ball slipped out of the Redmond keeper’s hands and landed at the feet of sophomore Cougars forward Kendal Monson, who put it home for a 3-0 advantage.

Junior midfielder Miriam Medina put the cherry on Mountain View’s soccer sundae in the 75th minute with a strike from about 25 yards out. Medina is one of the captains for the Cougars and displayed her vocal leadership throughout the contest.

Medina expressed her relief after the game that her team notched its first win of the season.

“We’re getting our chemistry, finally,” she said. “I feel like that’s only going to go up and, as a team, we’ll keep playing harder and harder.”

It has been hard for the Cougars – and plenty of other high school sports teams in Central Oregon — to get in a weekly rhythm. Smoky conditions in recent weeks have forced some outdoor sports inside to practice and even influenced cancellations of a few games.

Redmond coach Martha Segura, who said her team already faced adversity due to lack of depth and injuries, said the adverse conditions “make it tough” to stay focused leading up to a game.

“The girls knew there was a chance the game could get cancelled,” Segura said. “When you think about trying to get mentally prepared for a game, that doesn’t help. I just tried to tell them to be ready no matter what.”

The smoke lifted briefly during the game, but the air quality still remained at moderate levels throughout the contest. Coach Erickson lauded the perseverance of his team.

“The attitude has been amazing,” he said. “With the smoke and everything, it’s hard to keep things consistent. We’re rolling with the punches and learning to react to situations we can’t control.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307, rclarke@bendbulletin.com

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