Sports

Mustangs Keep Rolling as Maggie Walker Awaits in Regional Semis

MAINTAINING POSSESSION is junior midfielder Hannah Rollins. Midfielders got the job done against Central High School in the Conference 35 championship on May 25 and helped Mason achieve a 5-0 victory. (Photo: Carol Sly)

A 10th consecutive 2A East regional tournament berth has George Mason High School’s varsity girls soccer team one game away from accomplishing that same feat at the state level after it moved past Wilson Memorial High School, 9-0, in the regional’s opening round and claimed the Conference 35 crown against Central High School with a 5-0 victory last Thursday.

The Mustangs (19-1) continue to bowl over their competition so far this postseason. They’ve outscored opponents 26-0 through four games and are making some of the top teams in the conference and region shrink in the face of their prowess. The fact that Mason has been able to remain so hot against better opponents is impressive, but considering most of the Mustangs participated in club tournaments over the long weekend and still didn’t miss a beat come game time is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

“We have a full roster of a lot of girls who can play soccer,” Mason head coach Allison Klink said. “Everybody who stepped on the field did a great job, we really tried to balance minutes — especially those who played a lot of soccer this weekend — and not have them play too long. But everybody came and showed up to play, so I guess the long weekend helped.”

Mason refused to ease into the match, and instead took it to Wilson Memorial right away during Monday’s game. Three minutes in, junior midfielder Victoria Rund got a hold of a loose ball just outside of the Green Hornets’ penalty box and fired a low grounder past the visitor’s goalkeeper to nudge the Mustangs ahead. Rund would strike again five minutes later when freshman forward Fiona Howard’s pass — originally intended for sophomore midfielder Ariana Roco — fell in front her, which she finished confidently with a rocket off her right foot. Up 2-0, junior forward Izzy Armstrong got in on the action after sophomore midfielder Maura Mann’s pass sent her to an open space and allowed Armstrong to launch a shot that Wilson Memorial’s goalkeeper had no chance on. On Mason’s next offensive possession, Armstrong dropped a pass back to sophomore midfielder Maddie Lacroix, who swiped a clean shot off that curled its way into the back left corner of the goal.

The scoring didn’t stop there. Freshman forward Emma Rollins received a deep throw-in and bulled her way through the defense before she poked a ball into the net. Coming out of halftime up 5-0, Armstrong notched her second of the night on a long through ball from Rund. Howard tallied her second assist when she floated a cross over the Green Hornets’ defense and right to the cutting junior midfielder Hannah Rollins who finished the chance with a beautifully-timed header. Armstrong completed her hat trick in the 64th minute on a free kick from roughly 25-yards out that was too hot to handle for Wilson Memorial’s goalkeeper. Junior Sophie Matton assisted freshman Gabriela Stevens for the game’s final goal.

Against Central last Thursday, the Mustangs effectively warded off the visiting Falcons. It was the third time Mason had squared off with Central this season, and though it wasn’t quite as dominant as May 4’s 7-0 win, the Mustangs proved the better squad by by notching five strong goals and holding off the Falcons’ advances in a contested Conference 35 title match.

Mason now preps for longtime regional rival Maggie Walker Governor’s School who they face on the road tomorrow, May 31. Still, the team knows what it will take to usurp another 2A powerhouse.

“Intensity from the start, playing to feet and really just utilizing our wide [looks], and angled runs and really just keep moving the ball. If we move the ball quickly I’m not too concerned,” Klink said of Mason’s Wednesday match.