By Drew Costley
The George Mason High School’s girls varsity soccer team blanked Central High School in its first Bull Run District match of the season last Thursday, 7-0, but was on the other side of a scoreless game when the team lost 5-0 to Tuscarora High School on Tuesday.
Head Coach Jennifer Parsons said the Mustangs knew they were in for a tough match-up against the Huskies. She said Tuscarora maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the game.
“They were a very strong attacking team, and if any of their attackers were given even a small amount of space, they took advantage of it and made it into a goal-scoring opportunity,” Parsons said.
According to Parsons, the Huskies punished any mistakes made by the Mustangs and were able to take advantage of bad touches or under-weighted passes to regain possession. She said she thinks the game was good for the Mustangs.
“It was good for us to play a team of such high caliber, so we can see a higher level of play,” Parsons said of the out-of-district match-up. “I think the girls learned a lot from the movement of the other team and their desire to go to goal and score.”
She said she is proud of the team for “continuing to fight” throughout a game that was physical and hard-fought. It taught the Mustangs to better organize positioning and forced them to communicate more to adjust to Tuscarora’s faster speed of play, according to Parsons.
“I think it’s going to help us be better, more prepared and grow as we move forward into the season and face our stronger district competition such as Madison and Clarke County,” Parsons said.
When the Mustangs played their first Bull Run District match against Central, they had yet to score a goal in the season.
“A key focus was definitely urgency to go to goal,” Parsons said.
The Mustangs’ urgency paid off in the form of six goals in the first half. This forced the Falcons to adjust in the second half by defending their defensive third with all 11 players.
“Defending with so many people made it difficult for us to score,” Parsons said. “But it was a good experience for the girls; it forced them to get creative and keep a fast pace off of the ball.”
Senior defender Hailey Thomas scored two goals against the Falcons. Freshmen defender Caroline Stricker, sophomore forward Mary Keenan, freshman forward Kate Mills, sophomore forward Ava Roth and freshman midfielder/forward Corinne Carson all scored one goal for the Mustangs. Parsons said the win over Central helped encourage the Mustangs.
Central had no shots on goal resulting in sophomore goalie Katie Cheney and the George Mason defense’s first shutout of the season.
“We came away from the game with a confident, dominating win,” Parsons said.
The Mustangs’ next match is at home on April 2 against Madison County High School.