When it comes to boys soccer, Bull Run is one of the strongest districts in Virginia, with perennial powers Manassas Park and Clarke County high schools joined by strong competition from relative newcomers William Monroe and Central (Woodstock) high schools. Whether at the varsity or junior varsity level, to win the district championship is an accomplishment and to go undefeated is an achievement, but to go unscored upon is unprecedented in recent history. With its 5-0 victory over Clarke County last Tuesday, the George Mason High School boys JV team did just that, ending its season 12-0-0 and outscoring its district opponents 68-0.
The Mustang victory over Clarke County was a microcosm of the season – fierce pressure defense, control of the ball, pinpoint passing, and clinical finishing. A penalty kick by eighth grader Derin Kokuuslu and a well-taken header by sophomore Kevin Fribley staked the Mustangs to a 2-0 lead at halftime. Second-half goals by freshman Roman Mynatt, eighth grader Oldrich Sembera, and sophomore Arijeet Sensharma finished the season on a high note. Steadfast defending and ball possession were the keys to keeping Clarke County scoreless, as the Mustangs dominated play throughout the game.
Offensive stars over the season were many. In addition to Kokuuslu and Sembera, other goal scorers included freshman Mattheus De Carvalho and Cristion Brown, and eighth grader Wes Quill. The Mustangs dominated the midfield. Mynatt was joined by sophomore Zack Witzel, freshman David Matz, and eighth grader Charlie Macris. Defensive standouts included sophomore Haewon Jeong and eighth grader Marvin Majano, as well as goalkeepers freshman Sam Mitchell and eighth grader Walker Hegadorn. But the glue that held the team together and provided vital leadership and direction to the younger players were sophomore co-captains Fribley and Sensharma and sophomore defensive star Tyler Marple.
“We started the season with a lot of young eighth graders this year, but they really came around,” Sensharma said. “We didn’t have any weaknesses and were just as good when we brought in our subs.”
According to Fribley, goalkeepers Mitchell and Hegodorn were crucial to success.
“They gave us great communication,” Fribley said. “We knew if we were in trouble we could pass back to them and they would find the open man or make a big clearance. They could also make big saves if the other team got off a shot.”
The Mustangs’ only loss for the season came in a non-district contest with double-A Tuscarora High School, a school with twice Mason’s student population. Dominating the first half and leading 1-0 at the break, Mason faced a determined, much larger opponent, along with a strong headwind in the second half.
Tuscarora eventually wore down the younger Mustangs, scoring three second-half goals
“I wish we could play them again,” Mustang JV Coach Bobby Penland said. “We were still a new team then, but I’m sure we could beat them now.”
Marple echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“The Tuscarora game was the turning point of the season,” Marple said. “We played with them the whole game, and gained so much confidence.. If we played them now, we’d win.”
As the Mustang boys varsity team continues its quest for a state championship this year, Head Coach Frank Spinello sees a great future for boys soccer at Mason.
“I consider the Junior Varsity to be the Future Varsity,” Spinello said, “one program with common goals. We practice alongside each other, warm up together, travel together and support each other. Coach Penland has done an amazing job with them. This year’s group has done great things and I look forward to watching them progress and make contributions at the varsity level.”