By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team notched two victories against district opponents in the past week, including a win over the defending single-A state champions. The Mustangs beat the William Monroe High School Dragons 4-1 on Tuesday after beating the Manassas Park High School Cougars 5-1 last Friday.
“We jumped out to a quick lead and gained confidence,” said Head Coach Frank Spinello of the game against the Cougars, single-A state champions for the past two years. “We possessed the ball well and were constantly dangerous on attack.”
Freshman striker Raheem Lawal scored the Mustangs’ first goal in the ninth minute and freshman midfielder Grant Goodwin scored their last goal in the 43rd minute. Junior striker Cole Hinson notched the Mustangs’ first hat trick of the season with goals in the 15th, 31st, and 32nd minutes. Sophomore midfielder/defender Ned Quill, junior midfielder/striker Sinan Kokuuslu, senior goalkeeper Sebastian Umerez, Goodwin, and Lawal all had assists against the Cougars.
Spinello described an early defensive stand by Umerez and sophomore defender Patrick Pereddo as a key moment for the Mustangs. The Mustangs were up 1-0 when Umerez blocked a shot at goal with a diving save, which left the goal open and gave the Cougars an opportunity to score off of the rebound. But Pereddo cleared the ball out of the goal box as Umerez came flying back into the box to save any potential shots.
“[They] proved it was going to be a tough night to score on us,” Spinello said. “The key was our defense shutting them down early.” Umerez had seven saves against the Cougars.
Spinello said the Darmstadter brothers, Henry and Paul, made key contributions to the Mustangs’ win and that they are “becoming a very lethal combination.” He added that sophomore defender Henderson Beam was also helpful in containing the Cougars.
“I was very proud of my boys for controlling the pace of the match from the opening whistle,” Spinello said. “To do that against the defending state champs proved to me that they want to be the last team standing in June.”
The Mustangs started “slow and overconfident” against the Dragons, according to Spinello. Despite that slow start, the Mustangs finished the first half with two goals. Lawal scored in the 28th minute off of an assist from sophomore midfielder Kavon Nowroozi, and junior midfielder Paul Darmstadter scored in the 38th minute off of an assist from his brother, senior midfielder Henry Darmstadter.
“Hopefully the tough half made us grow as a team,” Spinello said. “We responded well and took over the match as soon as the second half started.”
Sophomore Daniel Donovan got the start as goalkeeper for the Mustangs and finished with eight saves, including a key save early in the second half. Spinello said the midfield effort from Kokuuslu and Nowroozi and defensive effort from Quill and Beam were key in beating the Dragons.
Hinson scored the third goal for the Mustangs in the 51st minute off of an assist from Lawal, and Kokuuslu scored the Mustangs’ final goal in the 73rd minute off of an assist from Darmstadter.
The Mustangs host Rappahannock County High School on Friday and Strasburg High School next Tuesday.