The George Mason boys lacrosse program has begun its Spring ’08 campaign with a mission in mind: erase the memories hardships of last year's hardships.
The Mustangs ended last season 6-7, with a first round loss in the playoffs. Four of their losses came by either one or two goals. Some small changes and last year's season could have looked quite different.
Mason Coach Rich Costello attributed the narrow losses to a laundry list of shortcomings including “inability to clear the ball out of our defensive end, too many penalties and some poor catching, throwing and bad shot selection on the offensive end.”
After only losing three starters from last year, the Mustangs return the core of both their offensive and defensive units this year, and hope their experience can propel them further in the playoffs. Senior Ewan Oglethorpe and junior Tom Koning could “start for any team we play this year,” said Costello, who expects leadership to come from the two team captains, returning defensive starters Russ Intermaggio and Sean Mondragon. The Mustangs pride themselves on their defense, and Coach Costello expects the two captains to generate turnovers and to be efficient in clearing the ball.
One of the glaring weaknesses of last year’s team was the amount of minutes that the first midfield line ended up playing throughout the year. Coach Costello expects junior Jake Schwind and sophomore Yates Jordan to provide some stability on the second midfield line in order to give his starters some well deserved rest. The Mustangs will feature a five-man rotation on attack, with seniors Graham Colton and Charlie Khaliq and sophomores Mike Duning, Nick Kuipers and Caleb Barrett all expected to earn significant playing time throughout the season.
The season began for the Mustangs on March 13 against Trinity — Meadow View. After racing out to a 6-2 lead, the team began committing “needless penalties” in the third quarter, allowing Trinity to score four quick goals to tie the game at six a piece. The Mustangs rallied together, scoring a fast break goal late in the fourth to escape with their first win of the season, 7-6. Oglethorpe made 21 saves, while Kuipers and Jordan led the team’s scoring.
A long spring break was just what the Mustangs ordered, as they returned from break and destroyed Park View by the score of 19-2. The majority of the Mustangs goals came on transition and fast breaks.
“Tim Koning and the rest of the defense did a nice job in shutting down Park View, but we still need to improve in our clearing and making better decisions on the offensive side,” said Coach Costello.
The Mustangs welcome Washington-Lee High School on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. With nine games in the next 27 days, Coach Costello believes, “April will be the true test of how much we’ve improved.”
Mason Girls Lacrosse
The George Mason varsity girls lacrosse team has begun the 2008 season with focus and motivation to improve on last year’s 8-7 season, with hopes to advance into the district tournament. The Lady Mustangs will focus on maintaining a settled attack, solid transition in the midfield, and man-on-man coverage on defense, according to Coach Megan Coulter.
This year’s iteration of the Lady Mustangs is led by senior captains Allie Atkeson, Emily Perry, Hannah Baumgardner and junior captain Sally Blakemore.
The Lady Mustangs have begun their season on the same note as their male counterparts kicking off the season with a scrimmage against Notre Dame Academy, which they won 11-8 on March 12. Following their success there, the girls began their regular season against Park View, with an 18-5 blowout.