By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity soccer team won its seventh straight region championship last Friday with a 2-1 victory over Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, but it wasn’t easy, according to George Mason Head Coach Jennifer Parsons.
“Maggie Walker was definitely the most physical team we have seen this season, and probably the best team we have seen outside of the district,” Parsons said. “It was great for our team to be challenged in these ways, and I think we did a great job to earn the victory.”
But the George Mason Mustangs had to beat Goochland High School in the Region 2A semifinal before facing off against the Maggie Walker Green Dragons in the championship. The Mustangs beat the Goochland Bulldogs 10-0 last Wednesday, but, according to Parsons, they panicked a little at the start of the match.
“Goochland came out very hard in the first 10 minutes; they were very physical and definitely were doing all they could to put pressure on us and make it difficult for us to create scoring chances,” Parsons said. The Bulldogs didn’t allow the Mustangs a score until the 15th minute of the match.
“Once we started focusing on ourselves, keeping possession and passing and moving more urgently, things really came together,” Parsons said.
Sophomore midfielder/forward Corinne Carson, who scored all three of the Mustangs’ first-half goals, was key in helping the Mustangs get comfortable with the fast pace of play.
“Corinne Carson was outstanding during the game and has really shown to be an important offensive threat for us this season,” Parsons said. “She had an incredible work ethic during the game, but also showed a great maturity in some key goal-scoring situations to help us all settle down and take the lead.”
Carson also had a goal and two assists in the Mustangs’ seven-goal second half. Senior midfielder Claire Trevisan scored a goal and had four assists and junior midfielder/forward Ava Roth scored a goal and had three assists in the match. Sophomore defender Jackie Baartz got the only assist that wasn’t by Carson, Trevisan, or Roth when she found sophomore midfielder Autumn Broxson, who scored the Mustangs’ 10th goal of the match.
Senior forward/midfielder Camille Rice, freshman forward Rebecca Crouch, and freshman defender/midfielder Alice Castillo each added a goal to the Mustangs’ tally. Parsons said the high-stakes semifinal match prepared them well for their tough championship match. She said the match against the Green Dragons was a “battle” that couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I think it helped remind us that we need to be ready to battle on many fronts if we want to have a chance at another state championship this season,” Parson said. “Our team has not had enough challenging games this season, and certain scenarios and situations that occur in one-goal games are important learning moments for a young team like us, so I was happy that we were able to experience that sort of competition in the regional championship.”
Sophomore defender Annie Washa put the Mustangs ahead 1-0 in the first half after receiving a pass from Carson, who regained possession of the ball deep in the Green Dragons’ defensive territory. Then Carson put the Mustangs ahead 2-0 in the second half by knocking in a pass Trevisan bounced to just inside the penalty box.
The Green Dragons scored with 15 minutes left in the game after Caroline O’Brien got behind the Mustangs’ defense and launched a shot from 20 yards out.
Parsons said the regional championship gave the Mustangs “some important things” to focus on as they prepare for the state championship. They’ll face Graham High School in the semifinals of the state tournament Friday at Salem High School. If they win, they’ll face the winner of the Green Dragons’ match with Radford High School on Saturday in the state championship at Radford University.