By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team throttled Strasburg High School 9-0 last Wednesday. It was the first time the George Mason Mustangs (9-1, 9-1) held a team scoreless in four games – they beat Rappahannock County High School 9-0 during the first week of April.
“All of the goals we have allowed except one have been in the first five minutes of the second half and the last five minutes of a game. That tells me that we need to start second halves with energy and finish games strong,” said George Mason Head Coach Frank Spinello. “Sometimes with big leads teams can take a few moments off here and there, and that is unacceptable for championship-caliber teams. We have talked about and worked on finishing games and playing complete matches.”
According to Spinello, the Mustangs’ quick passes and movement off of the ball helped them to possess the ball and “attack vertically with good pace” against the Strasburg Rams (2-5-3, 2-5-3).
“We talked all week about trust – trust that our teammates will make a play when we get them the ball, trust that if we make a run we will get the ball, trust that if we make a mistake a teammate will clean it up, trust that if one player pressures then we all pressure,” Spinello said. “We played with trust and it paid off.”
Sophomore striker Raheem Lawal led the Mustangs in scoring with three goals against the Rams and senior midfielder Paul Darmstadter and sophomore striker Elliot Mercado each scored two goals. Senior midfielder/striker Sinan Kokuuslu and junior midfielder Arijeet Sensharma added one goal a piece.
Junior midfielder/defender Matteo D’Agostino had three assists against the Rams, and Mercado added two more. Darmstadter, Kokuuslu, junior midfielder Kavon Nowroozi and junior defender Ned Quill each had one assist apiece in the match.
“Raheem, Elliot, and Paul were extremely dangerous in the attack,” Spinello said. “Kavon Nowroozi, [junior defender] Tyler Marple, and Matteo D’Agostino kept possession and determined the pace of the game.”
The Mustangs’ match against William Monroe High School, originally scheduled for Tuesday night, was postponed due to inclement weather. According to Spinello, it was the fourth or fifth game they’ve had postponed this season due to the weather.
“The postponements have made us eager to play matches, and our practices have become more competitive,” Spinello said.
Because so many games have been postponed, the Mustangs have had to play three or four games in a week when two would normally be on the schedule.
The Mustangs are in first place in the Bull Run District and Conference 35 with seven games left in the last two weeks of their regular season schedule.
“Our depth should carry us through a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Spinello said. “Almost, if not all, of our subs would start for any other team in the district, so we can rest players when needed in the stretch run of the season and keep fresh legs for the playoffs.”
Weather permitting, the Mustangs play Clarke County High School next Monday at Clarke County, host Central High School next Tuesday, and travel to Warren County High School next Wednesday.