The George Mason High School boys soccer team defeated Central High School 8-1 last Friday in the Bull Run District tournament quarterfinals, but ended its post-season run with a 3-2 loss against Manassas Park High School Tuesday in the semifinals. The boys end their season with a total of 12 wins and six losses.
“I still feel we gave it our best, and I’ll never forget my time with the team,” senior captain Brendan Fribley said.
Against Central, Mason came out aggressive and ready to play. Mason weaved passes through Central’s packed center, which generated a lot of opportunities on goal. Within the first 10 minutes of the game, sophomore Cole Hinson one-timed a cross from senior captain Eion Oosterbaan.
Freshman Kavon Nowroozi struck next with a slick shot to the far right corner. Central got on the scoreboard moments later with a forward shot from a bad angle into the far corner of the net. With two more goals scored by Oosterbaan and senior Stephan Cotner, the half ended with Mason leading 4-1.
Oosterbaan scored a second and third goal, and sophomore Cole Hinson and junior Adam Witzel scored a goal apiece, bringing Mason to an 8-1 victory. The team then set its sights on playing the defending state champions, Manassas Park, in the semifinals.
“We need to play physically and mentally strong,” head coach Frank Spinello said before the game. “We need to minimize our unforced mistakes and win balls back quickly when we lose it. We cannot let Manassas Park counter attack without resistance. We need to play with confidence and passion and make sure we leave everything on the field.”
Mason began with that confidence and passion that Spinello mentioned. Mason was pressuring the ball and appeared to be fully energized and ready for the game. Senior captain Ze’ev Lailari played solid defense, and sophomore Paul Sanders made great strides to goal that helped with the strong start by Mason.
Beginning with a steal from freshman Ned Quill, carried out by the hustle of senior Fribley who crossed the ball into the center, Mason gained a great chance to score. More such instances came throughout the game, but Manassas Park executed an opportunity first when on of their skilled forwards beat their defender and shot to the far left corner.
Fribley consistently working hard on defense and Hinson pressuring the ball at the midfield helped the boys stay afloat as they began to slow down. However, Manassas Park started creeping closer and closer to goal, which gave them the opportunity to score that they took full advantage of. The half ended with Mason down 2-0.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Quill positioned the ball in front of the goal for Hinson, who found himself one-on-one with the goalie and placed the ball into the far right corner.
Great saves by junior goalkeeper Sebastian Umerez and the aggression and precision of Lailari’s defense helped Mason remain competitive in the game. Manassas Park scored its third goal with six minutes remaining, which fired urgency in Mason and Oosterbaan quickly scored with two minutes remaining. The battle for the remainder of the game did not result in any goals, and the score was set at 3-2. The loss ends Mason’s season.
“It’s been an honor to wear a Mason uniform these past four years,” Oosterbaan said. “Thank you to everyone who made it an amazing experience. Although this season ended prematurely, I am truly blessed to come away with two career state championships.”