by Jeffrey Wojtala – Special to the News-Press
On Tuesday, May 17 the George Mason girls varsity lacrosse team started their run towards a state title by defeating Loudoun County High School 13-9. The evening was a damp affair but the steady rain that fell throughout the day lessened and stopped for most of the game. The first half was a tight played affair, unlike the first meeting of these two teams when Mason won handily 17-5.
Mason scored first at the 22:56 mark when Amy Roche took a quick pass from Lizzie Dodge and placed the ball into the back of the Raiders’ net. The Raiders were not going to go quietly in this playoff game and responded with two of their own two and three minutes later to take the lead. Now the see-saw battle of goals began. Sarah Lubnow scored 30 seconds later to tie the score and Roche followed to put Mason ahead.
Loudoun County scored again 11 seconds after Roche and Hannah Hiscott followed 26 seconds later, then the Raiders scored again at the 10:45 minute mark to tie the game at four. The Mustangs continued to pepper the Raiders’ goalie with numerous shots but were not able to find the back of the net again until three minutes were left in the half when Roche scored her 3rd goal of the night, but once again the Raider’s responded with two more, the last one with 46 seconds left on the clock to take the lead. Hannah Hiscott netted her second of the night with 8.9 seconds left and the half ended with the score knotted at 6.
The halftime discussion by head coach Courtney Gibbons must have settled down the girls and urged them to play Mustang lacrosse because Lydia Gorman scored for the Lady Mustangs 17 seconds after the initial draw. The Raiders’ responded once more to tie the game at 7-7, but the Mason faithful was beginning to see the momentum swing towards George Mason and Roche began to find the back of the goal herself by netting the next three to make it 10-7 Mason, the largest lead of the game for either team at that point.
Mason and Loudoun County exchanged goals two minutes apart, Hannah Hiscott netting her 3rd goal and then Roche scored her seventh goal of the night before the Raiders scored their last goal with 2:20 left in the game. The Mason fans urged the team to win the following draw and wind the clock down which they did, and the game ended with Claire Hiscott taking a pass from Meredith Johnson and scoring with 0.1 seconds left on the clock for the victory.
The bleachers were decorated in purple and white and fans were urged to wear purple and purple ribbons in dedication to James and Bryce Eakin or Team Eakin. The twin boys were born to Kelly and Jeff Eakin in September and were diagnosed with a hereditary neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Kelly is a former assistant coach for Mason and taught at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School from 2013-2015. The entire Mason lacrosse team also wore purple headbands to raise awareness for the boys.
A Facebook page has been set up to allow supporters keep up to date on the boys’ progress. The Mustangs now move on to play Thursday, May 19, most likely against a Dominion High School team that they lost a close game to one month ago.