By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team won its first two matches of the season last week. The George Mason Mustangs (2-0, 2-0) beat Warren County High School 4-0 last Thursday and routed Madison County High School in an 8-0 win last Friday.
George Mason Head Coach Frank Spinello said the first 10 minutes of the match against the Warren County Wildcats (0-2, 0-2) were “spotty.”
“But I think we gained our composure pretty early in the match and controlled the pace of the match and did what we wanted to do,” Spinello said.
Senior striker/midfielder Brian Connelly scored the first goal of the game in the 20th minute with a powerful shot from outside of the goalkeeper’s box.
“We noticed that the few times they went forward in the first half they tried to rush … their entire team forward, but they left two or three guys back,” Spinello said. “So we knew if we got a quick change of possession we could go at them with numbers.”
Senior striker/midfielder Sinan Kokuuslu got the ball at midfield and passed it down to sophomore striker Raheem Lawal.
“He knocked it back to Brian and he just killed a shot,” Spinello said. “That was a beautiful shot.”
Sophomore striker/midfielder Elliot Mercado scored in the 37th minute to put the Mustangs ahead 2-0 at the end of the first half.
“Our team I think started off a little slow, a little timid, and I think that’s what … gave the first third of the game away,” said Warren County Head Coach Manuel Alban. “In the second half, once we got a little tougher, we started pushing back, yet the other team had control of the game.”
Lawal scored the Mustangs’ two second-half goals in the 59th and 67th minutes. In between those goals he went down after he collided with a Wildcats defender while going for a loose ball. One of Lawal’s teammates had to intentionally kick the ball out of bounds to stop play because Lawal appeared to have sustained an injury at first, but he stayed in the game.
“I knew it wouldn’t [put] me out of the game,” Lawal said. “I like to play, so I played through it. It wasn’t too bad.”
Spinello said he thinks the Mustangs are coming together “real well, real quick” two games into the regular season. He said his squad played “great soccer” against the Madison County Mountaineers (0-1-1, 0-1-1).
Mercado scored the first goal of the match for the Mustangs in the seventh minute. Lawal scored the second goal in the 23rd minute. Mercado scored again in the 38th minute to put the Mustangs ahead 3-0 at half time.
“They were scrappier than we all thought, in my opinion, so we started out a little slow,” Mercado said. “But after we scored the second one we loosened up a little bit.”
Sophomore midfielder Grant Goodwin started off a five-goal second half for the Mustangs with a score in the 50th minute and junior midfielder/defender Matteo D’Agostino scored in the 52nd minute.
Lawal scored his second goal of the match in the 70th minute and started a scoring run that ended the game. Junior striker Donal Reyes de Leon scored in the 72nd minute and then senior midfielder Jorge Nieto scored in the 76th minute to close the game out at 8-0.
Spinello said that everybody contributed to the Mustangs’ victory, but he singled out and praised junior defender Ned Quill after the game.
“He’s like having another coach out on the field,” Spinello said. “He just settles things down when they need to get settled down and he’s just one of the most composed players I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching.”
The Mustangs’ matches against Clarke County High School, originally scheduled for Tuesday night, and Strasburg High School, originally scheduled for Wednesday night, were both postponed due to inclement weather. Friday night the Mustangs host William Monroe High School.