Mountain Pointe girls soccer

Mountain Pointe senior Kiley Kipper, left, doesn't want to leave the program falling short of making the postseason.

Darryl Webb/AFN

Mountain Pointe girls soccer coach Mark Wilson has a number in mind.

It is the same one most coaches have locked in on when it comes to making the postseason.

"You can't lose more than four matches or you are not going to qualify," Wilson said after Thursday's 2-1 defeat against Xavier. "It's really going to come down to that Corona (del Sol series). If we trade licks then we are on that bubble."

Mountain Pointe is 8-6 overall and 4-2 in power point matches. In Wilson's mind, the Pride has to go 4-1 in the remaining schedule to assure themselves of a spot in the 16-team Division I field.

Mountain Pointe gets a second shot at Xavier on Thursday, play at Mesa on Jan. 19, have a home-and-home with Corona on Jan. 21 and 24 before closing out the regular season at home against Perry on Jan. 26.

As Wilson mentioned, the Pride probably needs to win at least two of the three matches against perennial contenders Xavier and Corona to assure Mountain Pointe of making the postseason.

Otherwise, the Pride's postseason plan might be in trouble.

"As seniors we can't be the first team not to make it," forward Kiley Kipper said. "We are playing as hard as we can, working as hard as we can to make sure we do whatever it takes to get in."

Wilson, who is in his fifth season, said the progression to this point has been what he wanted and he has no doubt the team will do enough to get in this year.

"I didn't think we were going to do very well because we had trouble with our vision, passing, tracking and scoring goals," he said. "I had to find the right system. We are playing well but have to focus, relax and bury our shots."

Against Xavier last Thursday, Mountain Pointe had more scoring opportunities, kept the pressure on offense and didn't get challenged defensively all that often.

Problem was the Gators, who were last year's state runner-up after winning the previous two state titles, scored on both of its two legitimate shots on goal.

"That was frustrating, but if we play them that tough again we can beat them," junior forward Cera Hassinan said. "We outplayed them, but didn't get the win."

Wilson thinks the team realized after the loss to Xavier that there is no reason to be intimidated by the accomplished program.

"It will be a similar game plan," he said. "They needed to see for themselves how good they are. I think now that we knocked that out, we can settle down and play our game... If we go in with the attitude of we are going to win, good things will happen."

The team, which went 2-2 at the Arizona Showcase before losing in the quarterfinals over Christmas break, has bonded well despite the fact that some seniors left the team after tryouts.

"We never thought we were an amazing team, but we worked together," Hassinan said. "We bonded and became more of a family."

Wilson said Hassinan is a big part of the reason the team came together.

"She is the heart of our team because of the hard work," he said. "I never see her huffing and puffing. She is like the Energizer Bunny. She makes good decisions on the ball and has a good touch."

Other top contributors are senior Kaitlin Maiefski, junior Kaitelin Warren, sophomore Ashley Mutchek, sophomore Clare Wilmink, and Kipper.

Wilson believes the core players will do enough to get into the playoffs, and from there they will be well tested after playing one of the state's most difficult schedules.

"Who made this schedule?" Wilson joked. "But it is good because we have seen the best and we know we can compete with the best. Once we eliminate the mistakes, communicate, and make good passes we will be OK."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSKodaAFN.

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