The George Mason High School boys soccer team played Madison County High School last Friday and Manassas Park High School, their rivals from last year’s state championship, Tuesday. The boys easily handled Madison County, earning a 4-0 win, but fell to Manassas Park 2-0 after a suspenseful game.
With help from star forwards Cole Hinson and Sinan Kokuuslu, who both came back recently from battling concussions, Mason began the game against Madison County attacking. Within the first 10 minutes of play, junior Adam Witzel scored off of a through ball from junior Joon Pyo Kim. Moments later, Kim displayed his dribbling skills and hammered a shot from the top of the box.
Despite the roughness of Madison County, Mason continued to keep their composure and control the game. Later in the half, senior captain Eion Oosterbaan was taken down in the box. He was given the penalty shot, which he placed in to end the half with a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, Hinson received a through ball from Oosterbaan. He passed it easily into the back of the net after beating two defenders, ending the game with a final score of 4-0.
The game was more than just a win for Hinson, who has spent the past six weeks battling memory loss, fatigue, and constant headaches.
“It felt very good to play again,” Hinson said. “It was frustrating only being able to watch.”
Kokuuslu also understands the frustration, but explained “returning from a concussion has brought me to appreciate the game more than before. I’ve been motivated to train even harder.” Kokuuslu was out for three weeks until he was cleared, on his birthday.
Freshman soccer team member Henderson Beam suffered a concussion in January when he got hit at a wrestling meet.
“I thought I was fine until the headaches, dizziness, running into things, and memory loss happened,” Beam said. For nearly three months, Beam was unable to play sports, work out, or fully participate in school.
“Soccer is my outlet for everything in my life,” Beam said. “I watched a lot of my friends play the sport that I have always had, and it was just hard to watch and not be a part of it.”
With roaring applause, Beam stepped onto the field for the first time in his varsity soccer jersey Tuesday against Manassas Park.
The returning players had to face a long, painful process to recover from their concussions, and the team was ecstatic to have them back on the field for Tuesday’s game against Manassas Park.
With full force, Mason came out fighting from the very beginning. Both teams were receiving many opportunities on goal. However, Mason seemed to have more desire and the momentum behind them. It was a very physical game – three yellow cards where given out in the duration of the game. With only two minutes remaining in the second half, Manassas Park got a breakaway, which they executed into a goal ending the half 1-0.
Despite the many opportunities on goal, Mason did not manage to put the ball in the back of the net. Toward the end of the game, Manassas Park scored a goal from the 25-yard line, which put out Mason’s fire and ended the game with a loss of 2-0.
The boys will play at William Monroe High School Friday and host Rappahannock County High School next Tuesday.