It was not just the upstart, nothing-to-lose, No. 14 Medomak Valley boys soccer team No. 3 Mount View had to overcome in its Class B North prelim playoff game on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The Mustangs faced the unenviable task of spending the first 40 minutes of the high school boys soccer game also competing against swirling, ferocious winds that, along with the Panther defense, stalled the hosts' offense for the majority of the contest.

“When I see kids that can normally kick the ball three quarters of the length of the field, they go to clear it and it actually ends up back behind them when the wind is done pushing it, that’s hard to take care of,” said Mount View coach Dale Hustus. “So we just said, ‘Hey we’ve just got to survive this first half.’”

The Mustangs did just that and, after top goal scorer Elijah Allen nestled a ball under the crossbar — and over the outstretched hands of Panther goalie Aiden Starr — the hosts weathered the storm, so to speak, in the second half and held on for a 1-0 victory.

Watch video, and see more photo, below.

With the victory, Mount View (15-0) advances to the quarterfinals, where it will host No. 6 Brewer (9-5-1) on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m.

The Mustangs, who outscored opponents 80-12, with six shutouts in 14 regular-season games, defeated the Witches 5-1 in a Sept. 19 regular-season game. The Witches beat No. 11 Waterville in another prelim playoff game.

Medomak Valley’s campaign concluded at 5-8-2.

“We knew coming to their home field [would be tough] and they have such a high-powered offense,” said Medomak Valley coach Brian Campbell. "But we figured we’d get to the ball first, we’d outwork them, surprise them, get out there and score an early goal and turn the tide on them. But the ball just didn’t go in.”

“Choosing the wind at the beginning was more of a strategy to get out there and jump early and to try and surprise them. And I think we did.”

“That wind was so strong that we basically had to play defense the whole first half, but we played a very good game,” said Hustus. “We accepted the hits with their physicality and just continued to play our game. We passed, we possessed and did what we needed to do to get the win.”

Allen’s goal came off an assist from Chase Gilley with 32:35 to go in the second half. The wind continued to blow, but not with gale-like ferocity as it did in the first half.

Allen netted the goal from about 25 yards as the shot nestled under the crossbar and just over Starr’s hands for what proved to be the game-winning tally.

“I was just happy it went in,” said Allen. “Obviously it was an exciting moment in the game and turned the game around and gave us the momentum.”

“Elijah is amazing,” said Hustus. “If he’s got 12 and a half inches of space, he’s got room enough to shoot. These guys, as well as everybody else we’ve played, did a nice job of double- and triple-teaming him most of the game. But, like I said, he only needs about as much space to fit the ball through and he has the ability to put a good shot on net.”

The Panthers did not quit as the last seed into the Class B North tournament had their chances, but could not get many quality chances on frame in front of the net amidst the stingy Mustang defense.

Medomak Valley’s best chance came with about 25 minutes to play in the second half when Will Smith had a nice cross into a teammate who nearly headed in a goal — and Ryan Creamer nearly hammered home the rebound — but the Mount View defense, ultimately, thwarted the offensive attack by the visitors.

Mount View outshot Medomak Valley 14-8 and held a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.

Starr made seven saves in goal for the Panthers and Ricky Nelson two saves in net for the Mustangs.

Campbell said only one player on his roster — senior Joey Horovitz — has been on a Panther team that had previously qualified for the playoffs.

“This was a good learning experience,” the coach said.”

Now, the Mustangs will turn their attention to the Witches. With the moment — and the stakes — not lost on Hustus or his players.

“Any playoff game is a big game,” Hustus said. “I told the boys coming in, ‘I’ve seen more number one seeds upset in the playoffs than you can shake a stick at.’ Everybody comes, and it’s do-or-die. So you can’t underestimate any team.”