Journeying briefly along Route 7 to battle cross-town rival J.E.B. Stuart, the George Mason High School varsity girls soccer team won the “Battle of the Pike,” 2-0, behind the legs of junior Rachel Kazman and freshman Kelley Frank.
A physical game from the start, the Mustangs rose to the challenge to defeat the AAA Raiders. Frank started the scoring off early in the first half with a breakaway goal on a beautiful long ball sent by newly-positioned sophomore sweeper Abby Stroup.
Midfield/defensive sophomore standout Kim Kenny nearly added a goal of her own on a free kick, but it was called back due to a Mason player pushing on the goalkeeper. Mason made up for the error shortly after, when Kazman scored what Mason coach Jennifer Parsons described as a “beautiful goal,” on a pass from Kenny.
Junior goalie Rebecca Jackson anchored the defense, recording a shutout for the second straight game, including stopping a breakaway late in the second half. After beating Stonewall-Jackson 6-0, the Mustang defense clamped down on the Raider forwards, allowing a mere seven shots on the night.
Freshman newcomer Nicole Peyton was robbed of a goal on a great shot late in the game, as the Stuart keeper barely tipped the ball over the crossbar to leave the score at 2-0.
On the junior varsity end, the JV Mustangs completed the overall shutout of Stuart, winning 6-0. Sophomore Jackie Pacella recorded the hat trick to lead Mason. Other goals were scored by eighth graders Hannah Wertime-Walker and Katie Breen, who netted two and one goal, respectively.
As she has all season, Parsons praised both the varsity and JV Mustangs’ efforts on the night. “[The team] was definitely faced with their most physical opponents yet this season,” said Parsons following the victory. “However, I think it served as good preparation for upcoming district games.”
Bull Run District play, which will begin on April 13 against Rappahannock High School, will most likely feature the Mustangs and perennial Class A soccer powerhouse, and defending state champion, Clarke County in a battle for first place. The two teams will square off twice, first on April 24 at Clarke, then on May 11 at Mason.