by Matt Delaney
George Mason’s varsity girls soccer team lost its season opener 5-1 to Yorktown High School on Tuesday, Mar. 15.
Yorktown, a regular contender for Virginia’s 6A state title, made quick work of Mason on that night. The Mustangs botched a goal kick to set up Yorktown’s first goal less than two minutes into the game, which was followed by a second goal during the fifteenth minute after Yorktown diced their way through Mason again.
Toward the end of the first half Yorktown lost steam and Mason began to counter, culminating in a goal when junior midfielder Rebecca Crouch’s corner kick was met by senior midfielder Caroline Striker’s head to cut into the Patriot’s lead.
But Mason couldn’t sustain the momentum in the second half. After a promising start, Yorktown regained control and tallied three more goals in a 20 minute span to ice all chances at a win for the Mustangs.
The visiting Patriots kept Mason on the defensive throughout the game, forcing them to start possessions deep in their own territory.
Tough circumstances made for a less than ideal entry into the regular season, but the Mustangs remain positive about what can be learned from the loss.
“We had a lot of good things that came out of this game, things that we need to help us move forward,” head coach Allison Klink said.
“They need keep their heads up and think about all the great things that came out of this and not worry about the loss.”
Specifically, Klink felt the Mustangs should note how to work against teams that can move the ball quickly in transition and that offensive possessions must be supported by passes up the middle.
Last Tuesday’s loss also had Mason playing from behind. It’s not something you get used to doing after winning eight consecutive 2A state titles, but the Mustangs greeted the challenge with open arms.
“I wanted to improve on playing well under pressure,” Striker said.
“[The team] kept a really cool head. We’re really positive, we don’t rag on each other, and everyone just keeps going a one-hundred percent so that always helps.”
Mason suffered its first loss in the regular or postseason since 2013, and will have to wait until after Spring Break for a chance to even the record. The team will travel to Mount Vernon High School for their next game on Monday, Mar. 28.