A header by J.E.B. Stuart junior Leonardo Carbajal Gonzalez with just under four minutes remaining in the match gave the Raider boys varsity soccer team the only goal it needed to defeat George Mason High School and secure its first win of the season.
The first and only goal of the game came as the seconds ticked away on what had been a back and forth half of soccer. Both the Mustangs and the Raiders had good opportunities to score, but neither team was able to convert. Until Gonzalez’s goal, Mason senior goalie Eric Casteuble kept the score even at zero with several diving stops. The best of those stops came at the 54-minute mark when Stuart freshman Medzit Redzepi controlled the ball near the top of the 18-yard box, cut back to his left and launched a curling shot to the left of the Mason net. A fully-extended Casteuble snared the ball out of the air, not allowing a rebound.
While the Raiders had the majority of the scoring chances in the game, the best chance for either team came near the 67-minute mark when Mason forwards Eddie Huber and Andrew Arias had three or four opportunities to slip the ball behind beaten Stuart keeper William Brahmstadt, but could never quite get a clean a shot teed up. By the time Arias got a solid foot to the ball, Brahmstadt had recovered and the shot deflected away off of his legs.
Six minutes earlier, Brahmstadt turned away another scoring chance for Mason, making a save on a shot by Mason junior Antonio Randrianasolo after the Mustang forward had broken into the zone with speed.
While the time of possession and scoring chances were more even in the second half, the Raiders clearly held the advantage in the first. The speedy Stuart forwards presented plenty of problems for the Mustang defense and send Casteuble flying to make saves on more than one occasion.
Mason also caught a break 16 minutes into the match when Stuart was awarded a penalty kick after the Raiders’ Alexi Cavanaugh blew past the Mustang defense and was taken down inside of the box. The ensuing penalty kick flew well over the crossbar, however.
For all of the opportunities by the Raiders, the score remained even at zero until 76 minutes into the match when Gonzalez reached a curling cross from the left side of the goal with his head and redirected it with just enough force to find its way past Casteuble, the Mason defenders and into the net.
As time wound down, Mason’s Matt Gresko made a long run from his sweeper position, juking past three Raiders and reaching midfield before Stuart’s Hans Hidalgo snuffed it out near the center circle.
The victory improves Stuart’s record to 1-3 on the season, after opening their 2007 campaign with three losses to Marshall, T.C. Williams and South County. Two of their three losses have come by one goal.
Mason drops to 1-3, as the Mustangs prepare to take on Stonewall Jackson at home this Friday night at 7 p.m. The Mustangs beat Stonewall earlier this season by the score of 4-0. Stuart meanwhile will take part in the Chantilly Soccer Classic that begins Saturday and runs through April 7.