By Drew Costley
Sophomore striker Raheem Lawal set a scoring record for George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team on Monday, scoring seven goals in 50 minutes of play in the Mustangs’ (10-1, 10-1) 10-2 win over Clarke County High School.
“The type of match we had against Clarke was suited perfectly for Raheem’s skill set,” said George Mason Head Coach Frank Spinello. “Raheem is a predator around the goal if he gets the ball on the run into space. Since we played a lot of through balls, Raheem was able to chase them down and he finishes those types of chances at a very high rate.”
The Mustangs are on a five-game win streak after their victory over the Clarke County Eagles (3-7-1, 3-7-1) and a 5-1 romp of Central High School on Tuesday. The Mustangs are in first place in the Bull Run District and Conference 35 with four games left in the regular season.
Spinello said the Mustangs started both halves against the Eagles slowly, but finished them strong.
“We need to play with more energy early in matches,” Spinello said. “Overall we had our way during the match, creating a ton of scoring opportunities.”
Senior midfielder Paul Darmstadter, sophomore midfielder Grant Goodwin, and junior defender Thomas Rund each scored once against the Eagles. Senior striker/midfielder Sinan Kokuuslu, sophomore striker Elliot Mercado, and Goodwin each had two assists in the match. Junior midfielder Kavon Nowroozi, Lawal, and Rund each had one assist.
“We knew that we could attack them vertically with through balls. I knew that Clarke would give up huge gaps and played flat defensively,” Spinello said. “We took advantage with a ton of through balls and finished very well.”
The Mustangs grew up during their match against the Central Falcons (7-3-2, 7-3-2), according to Spinello.
“We played like little boys in the first half, grew up a lot at halftime, and then played like men in the second half,” Spinello said. “In the first half we played timid and did not assert ourselves. In the second half we played with confidence and passion and took their will away.”
Darmstadter and Goodwin each scored two goals against the Falcons and Kokuuslu added another. Senior midfielder/striker Brian Connelly, junior defender Ned Quill, Darmstadter, Kokuuslu, and Nowroozi each had assists against the Falcons.
The Mustangs possessed the ball “with confidence” throughout their match against the Falcons, according to Spinello – he said the team possessed the ball for at least 80 percent of the second half.
“I am not sure that Central was able to play three consecutive passes in the second half after we grew up and pressured the ball properly,” Spinello said. “It was a rough first half, but we got back to playing our brand of Mason football in the second half.”
The Mustangs play at Warren County High School tonight, then Manassas Park High School at home on Friday, and go on the road to play Rappahannock County High School next Tuesday.