Over the past couple of years, both the George Mason High School Mustangs and the Clarke County Eagles have established themselves as perennial powerhouses in girls soccer, not just in the Bull Run District, of which they are both members, but in the state of Virginia. Although the Eagles have won the last two Virginia Class A state titles, the Mustangs have always been nipping at their heels, making the rivalry one of the strongest around.
The Eagles prevailed, 3-1, in the latest chapter, as the rivalry was renewed last Tuesday, April 24 at Clarke. However, the Mustangs rebounded with two district blowout wins to take sole possession of second place and figure to make the rematch at Mason on May 11 the decisive game of the 2007 district schedule.
In their first match against the undefeated Eagles however, the Mustangs were unable to capitalize on several open looks in the opening 10 minutes of the match. Conversely, on Clarke’s first shot of the game in the ninth minute, junior Danielle Moyer scored the first of what would be three goals on the night.
Mason freshman Karen Hamill answered right back with a goal of her own, an excellent individual effort just six minutes before halftime to knot the score at 1-1 going into the break. Behind Moyer’s two second-half goals, though, Clarke would pull away.
Against a notoriously rough Clarke County squad, Mustang coach Jennifer Parsons felt her team rose to the challenge.
“I was very proud of the girls,” said Parsons following the game. “They definitely came to play, and were very physical throughout [the match].”
Following the break, the Eagles took 10 of the 12 total shots in the half and forced the Mustangs keeper, junior Rebecca Jackson, to make six saves. However, Jackson was unable to stop Moyer’s second goal, a rocket from about 20 yards out which Parsons referred to as an “unstoppable” shot.
Parsons was particularly complimentary of midfielders Kim Kenny and Rachel Kazman who matched up with and held their own against Clarke’s experienced seniors. She also applauded freshman Nicole Peyton for a standout job on defense at a new position she just began playing in the last week. That change was due to several injured players on the team, including sophomore all-state defender Tegan Argo.
Determined to avenge the tough loss to Clarke, the Mustangs followed it up with a 9-0 trouncing of the Manassas Park. Keeping possession for almost the entire game, Mason dominated the match, even though injuries forced numerous starters to sit out.
Four girls representing all grades had two goals, including senior Katie Turner, who will attend the College of Charleston next year to play for their team. Freshman Karen Hamill, sophomore Kim Kenny, and junior Olivia Scott each hit the back of the net twice on the night, while junior goalie Rebecca Jackson came out of the net to play forward and scored her first career varsity goal.
Against Rappahannock County on Tuesday night, the Mustangs turned out an equally impressive performance, crushing the Panthers 7-0 behind Turner’s two goals.
Senior Roxy Sweeny, sophomores Mayssa Chehata and Kenny, and freshmen Shelley Gresko and Kelley Frank added the other goals for Mason.
Parsons considered the games against Rappahannock and Manassas a good tune-up for their tough contests in the following weeks, including a battle this Friday against Virginia Independent powerhouse Notre Dame Academy, and of course, the rematch against Clarke at home on May 11.