The George Mason High School boys soccer team played its last regular-season home game last Friday, sweeping Strasburg High School 9-1, but fell to Clarke County High School Tuesday on the road, 2-4.
During that final home game, as part of the tradition of Senior Night, proud parents escorted their senior players down the field as the post-graduation plans of Eion Oosterbaan, Ze’ev Lailari, Stephan Cotner, Brendan Fribley and Joe Reich were announced.
“Seniors are the ones who make Mason soccer what it is about,” freshman Kavon Nowroozi said. “Most of our seniors have won two state championships during their Mason career, so as a freshman you cannot ask for better role models to look up to.”
After the presentation, Cotner astounded the audience with his rendition of the National Anthem.
“Singing is one of my favorite hobbies, so to have the opportunity to sing the National Anthem before the last seasonal home game of my high school career was indescribable and exhilarating for me,” Cotner said.
The performance seemed to spark something in the boys, because their start was impeccable. Nowroozi weaved through defenders to pass the ball to the low right corner past the goalie. Minutes later, Oosterbaan flew by three defenders and shot the ball to the lower far corner. The team was playing together as a unit, and the players seemed to be truly enjoying themselves.
“Everyone was having fun out there, and it was just an overall good experience,” Oosterbaan said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to play my last regular season home game as a Mustang.”
After 25 minutes, sophomore Cole Hinson pulled back the ball to position himself for a shot, which deflected off of a Strasburg defender and into the goal. Shortly after, Oosterbaan beat three defenders to advance himself to a shot that landed in the lower right corner of the net.
A strong performance from the boys gave them a 4-0 lead at halftime. Mason had total control of the game, not allowing Strasburg to shoot once.
To start the second half, Hinson juggled a bouncing ball in the box, whipped around, and pierced the ball into the far right corner. Shortly after, though, Strasburg scored because of a defensive breakdown.
To score his third goal for a hat trick, Hinson and Oosterbaan executed crisp passes in the box for a give and go, which Hinson put away into the far right corner. Cotner volleyed a cross from junior Kurt Ellis into the goal soon after.
Midway through the second half, junior Joon Pyo Kim beat two defenders and shot to the far right corner. To end the game with the Mercy Rule, Cotner scored his second goal by a chip from the outside corner of the box into the far upper corner of the goal.
“Scoring that last goal was the cherry on top of an amazing soccer career I’ve been privileged to experience at Mason,” Cotner said.
The final score of 9-1 is proof of the performance put forth by the Mason team.
“I know I can speak for all of us when I say the seniors have been one of the biggest inspirations throughout this year with Mason soccer. They are amazing people and amazing players and are going to be missed very much next year,” freshman Henderson Beam said.
While the final score of Mason’s game against Clarke County, 4-2, may not reflect Mason’s great effort throughout this game, it does result in the team placing third in the district behind Manassas Park High School in second and Clarke County in first.
The boys will continue to play in the district tournament this upcoming week. Their opponents had not been determined at press time.