By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team extended its winning streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over Clarke County High School last Friday and a 2-1 victory against Central High School on Tuesday.
“We worked hard and worked smart,” Head Coach Frank Spinello said of the victory over Clarke County. “The entire team worked well off the ball and we kept our defensive shape.”
Freshman striker Raheem Lawal took advantage of a turnover and scored the Mustangs’ first goal in the 11th minute. Lawal leads the Mustangs in scoring with 11 goals this season. Before he initiated scoring, the Mustangs were playing evenly with Clarke County.
“That seemed to give us a lot of momentum and we played much more confidently at that point,” Spinello said. “We took over possession and did not allow them any fast breaks, which is their bread and butter.”
Junior midfielder Sinan Kokuuslu scored the Mustangs’ second goal off of a pass from sophomore defender Patrick Pereddo in the 45th minute of the game. Lawal scored his second and the Mustangs’ third goal in the 47th minute off of another pass from Pereddo. Lawal passed the ball to freshman midfielder Grant Goodwin, who scored the Mustangs’ fourth goal in the 63rd minute. Sophomore midfielder Ned Quill scored the Mustangs’ final goal of the game in the 72nd minute.
Senior goalkeeper Sebastian Umerez had 12 saves against the Eagles, but allowed a Clarke County goal in the game’s final minutes.
Spinello said the Mustangs “started off sluggishly” against Central. “We were afraid to make mistakes and when we did, we couldn’t let them go,” Spinello said. “We got outworked physically and made a lot of mental mistakes.”
Junior midfielder Paul Darmstadter scored a goal in the 34th minute off of a cross from Kokuuslu. The Falcons tied the game in the 48th minute, then junior striker Cole Hinson put the Mustangs back ahead in the 59th minute.
Spinello said he thought senior midfielder/striker Kurt Ellis was the Mustangs’ best player against the Falcons. “He played with confidence and got us out of a rut when we needed it,” Spinello said. “He was dangerous in attack, played great passes, and was a presence in the midfield.”
Despite only having four saves against the Falcons and allowing a goal at the top of the second half, Spinello said he was “very pleased” with Umerez’s play. He said Umerez’s “communication was the best it has ever been.”
“He organized our defense very well and was a leader out there and tried to keep us composed when it got too tight,” Spinello said.
The team didn’t have the work ethic they usually bring into games, according to Spinello.
“Hopefully they gave us a wake-up call that we probably needed,” Spinello said. “Things were going too perfectly, so a good scare might have been the best thing for us in the long run.”
The Mustangs play Madison County High School at home on Friday.