Mountain View has been to the state semifinals twice in the last three seasons.
The fifth-seeded Mountain Lions girls team will try to reach the semis for the third time in four years with a win over fourth-seeded Phoenix Xavier today.
The Division I quarterfinal matchup against Xavier will not be easy: The Gators (14-4-2) have won seven state championships since 1990.
However, the Mountain Lions (11-3) have proven they can beat Phoenix-area teams. They have wins over Chandler and Chandler Hamilton this season.
"A lot of times when we go against Phoenix teams, they have it in their heads that they're going to be better than them automatically because we are from Tucson," Mountain View coach Kaissa Gurvine said. "So we have been prepping them for playing their game so they can beat a team like that."
Mountain View can pull off the upset if they do these three things:
1. Use their experience. With 13 seniors on the team who have been to the postseason, Mountain View has plenty of playoff experience.
Gurvine said 10 of her current players were members of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 squads that reached the semifinals.
"This team is strong because of having so many seniors," Gurvine said. "They are excited and want to go further than they have in the past."
2. Attack the defense. Xavier's defense has allowed only eight goals in 20 games this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Sydnay Tucker has led the Gators' strong defensive effort with five shutouts.
The Mountain Lions have scored 52 goals this year, and they hope to ignite their offense early and put pressure on the Gators.
"We need to work hard as a team and score on all the opportunities we can," senior striker Justene Kesterson said.
3. Defend the net. One of the big contributors to the Mountain Lions' first-round win over Chandler was the play of their goalkeeper, Felicity Tarr. The freshman prevented 13 of the Wolves' shots from heading into the net Tuesday.
Tarr was forced to start the game with senior keeper Shelby Penrod out with an injury.
"She has had some time to adjust to playing with the team and playing at this level with the high school girls," said Gurvine.
Tarr will play again Saturday if Penrod is still out.
Today Division II
• No. 5 Buckeye Verrado at No. 4 Salpointe Catholic, 2 p.m.
• No. 15 Amphitheater at No. 7 Palo Verde, 2 p.m.
Today Division I
• No. 5 Mountain View at No. 4 Phoenix Xavier, noon
• No. 8 Sahuarita at No. 1 Sahuaro, 2 p.m.
• No. 6 Ironwood Ridge at No. 3 Catalina Foothills, 2 p.m.
• No. 7 Glendale Cactus at No. 2 Palo Verde, noon
• No. 11 Catalina at No. 3 Cottonwood Mingus Union, 2 p.m.
(Southern Arizona teams in bold)