The George Mason High School boys soccer team posted two strong victories this week against Rappahannock County and Strasburg high schools. The boys beat Rappahannock County 2-0 after a shaky start on Friday, and beat Strasburg substantially 6-0 on Tuesday.
Rappahannock County began the game unexpectedly on fire, and generated several scoring opportunities while the Mason team started a little slow compared to its normal intensity. Midway through the first half, though, Mason started buckling down and gained control of the game. George Mason had an occasional golden opportunity to score and many corner kicks, but neither team scored during the first half of the game.
“This year, we can’t look past any team. We have to treat every game the same way, and come out with intensity every time we step out on that field,” senior captain Eion Oosterbaan said.
After an encouraging speech from their coach at halftime, Mason commanded the beginning of the second half. Within the first five minutes the boys were generating many scoring chances, including when Oosterbaan cracked a free kick off of the crossbar. Mason was cranking up its intensity and hustle, which transferred into winning key 50/50 balls and dominating possession. Mason’s defense, too, continued its impressive season.
“The back line has been playing together for a couple years now and we have learned to work with each other,” said senior captain and star defender Ze’ev Lailari. “Each of us can guess what the other will do and act to support them. Our experience, along with the support of our talented goalkeeper, Sebastian Umerez, has helped our team stay in many close matches.”
Midway through the second half, Oosterbaan snatched the ball from the defender and slotted it into the far corner past the keeper for the first goal of the game. Moments later, Oosterbaan beat defenders left and right as he dribbled down the sideline. He crossed the ball to the center where senior Stephan Cotner volleyed it into the bottom corner past a frozen goalkeeper.
Rappahannock County’s spirits were crushed after these goals, which allowed Mason to finish with a win of 2-0.
To begin the game against Strasburg, Mason came out a little flat once again. After approximately 10 minutes, Mason began to increase the tempo and control the ball. To score Mason’s first goal, of many, Oosterbaan slotted a through ball to Cotner, who placed the ball into the back of the net. Mason did not ease up and continued to pursue the goal.
Distributed by freshman Thomas Rund, junior Henry Darmstadter curved the ball into the left post and in the net for Mason’s second goal. Off of another distribution from Rund, junior Adam Witzel volleyed the ball into the far left corner. To score the fourth and final goal of the half, Oosterbaan lifted the ball into the box for Witzel, who headed the ball into the back of the net.
Mason carried its phenomenal performance over to the second half. As Strasburg’s spirits began to crumble, Oosterbaan scored once again off of a rebound into the far the bottom left corner. Junior Kurt Ellis scored Mason’s final goal after he managed to beat three defenders and glide the ball into the bottom right corner.
The 6-0 win over Strasburg was a confidence booster for the boys, which is exactly what they need before they face rivals from Clarke County High School at home Friday and Central High School Tuesday.