by Ian Graig
George Mason High School’s varsity field hockey team took an 11-3 regular-season record into the Conference 24 playoffs on Tuesday night. The Mustangs, who are seeded second in the conference bracket, took on the third-seeded Northampton High School Yellow Jackets and emerged with a hard-fought and exciting 1-0 victory. The win earned Mason a spot in the Conference 24 final, likely against perennial power Bruton High School.
The Mustangs’ sole goal was scored early in the second half by junior Caroline Stricker, who fired a hard outside shot that eluded the Northampton goaltender.
Stricker’s goal was the only tally in a battle of two excellent defenses, as both Mason and Northampton showed skill in blunting attacks before they could develop. Mason had some good chances on corners and quick attacks downfield, led by Stricker, senior Eleanor Langford, juniors Darcy Jones and Julianne Kelly and sophomores Sarah Lubnow and Korinne Wills, but the Northampton defense proved tough throughout the game.
The same was true of the Mason defense, which recorded its sixth shutout of the season. The Mason defense was led by junior goaltender Caroline Duffett, who came up big on several saves, and by seniors Emma Graig and Caroline Jarrard and juniors Celia Gieser and Caroline Stricker.
The game ended on a very tense note, as Northampton was awarded a penalty corner as time was expiring. The Mustang defense was able to thwart the Yellow Jackets’ last chance and the whistle sounded to bring the game to a close and secure the Mason win.
Mason will play in the Conference 24 final tonight, most likely against Bruton.
Regardless of the outcome of that game, Mason has already earned its first-ever spot in the regional playoffs, which will begin next week.