Despite being truly tested for the first time in Bull Run District play this season, the George Mason High School boys varsity soccer team posted a pair of wins to remain unbeaten since beginning the district schedule.
A determined squad from Strasburg, led by senior goalkeeper Phil Ramsey threw a scare into the favored Mustangs on the field at Moore Cadillac Stadium, Friday, April 18. The Rams, winless on the season with nine losses and a tie against Clarke County serving as their best showing to date, refused to back down from the Mustangs and entered the half with the score even at zero. It wasn't until 10 minutes into the second half that Mason could crack the score sheet. Sophomore Anthony Andrianarison scored the first goal of the game when he redirected a corner kick from senior Antonio Randrianasolo. That strike seemed to open the floodgates for the Mustangs who scored two more goals over the course of the next 10 minutes, with Randrianasolo and senior Andres Ramos both finding the back of the net.
“Their goalkeeper kept them in the match. He made four or five incredible stops to keep the first half 0-0,” Mason Head Coach Art Iwanicki said, noting that the game was the first time he had been concerned an outcome for the first time in recent memory. The Mustangs out-shot the Rams 18-4 over the course of the match.
Entering the season, Iwanicki believed that his team's game at Rappahannock County this past Tuesday, April 22 could be a pivotal point in the season. After weathering an aggressive Rappahannock attack, the Mustangs emerged unscathed, thanks in large part to a 15-minute, first-half spurt in which Mason scored four times to seize control of the game and secure a 6-2 win.
“They play very well at home and they get a lot of players into the attack,” Iwanicki said of the Panthers. “We controlled the midfield and didn't allow them to make any substantial offensive thrusts.”
Mason sophomore Alex Casteuble started the run by potting the rebound off of a saved penalty kick and sophomore Teddy Rueckert capped the scoring with the final goal of the game.
The pair of wins sets the stage for a Friday showdown with Clarke County at Mason High's Moore Cadillac Stadium. A win over the Eagles would firmly establish the Mustangs as the team to beat heading into the second half of the Bull Run District schedule. However, Mason's head coach believes his team's unblemished mark means little heading into Friday's always-competitive rivalry game.
“Throw out the records,” Iwanicki said. “This is Army-Navy, Notre Dame-U.S.C., Duke-North Carolina.”
The game gets underway at 7 p.m.