After all the intensity, after all the build-up, after all the anticipation from last year surrounding this year's grudge match between Clarke County and the George Mason High School's girls varsity soccer team, it ended in a tie.
After meeting four times last season, the historic George Mason-Clarke County rivalry added another chapter to its lengthy story in the first match-up of 2008, as the Mustangs and the Eagles battled to a 3-3 tie in Berryville last Monday.
In a contest that was rescheduled from last month due to inclement weather, it became apparent from the opening whistle that the last three months of practices and games for each team were all building up to this.
The last time Mason and Clarke battled it out on the pitch was in the Region B final, the fourth time the Eagles downed the Mustangs last season. However, after graduating numerous core players from their state runner-up squad, Clarke was a different team with only one common denominator entering Monday: Danielle Moyer.
Moyer, a senior who recently was honored with a special citation at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, scored just five minutes into the game, kicking off what would be a see-saw match between the two squads.
While Clarke had Moyer, Mason countered with Olivia Scott. The senior midfielder answered her Eagle counterpart, netting one in the 21st minute off a beautiful cross by classmate Rachel Kazman to even up the score.
Although checking Moyer proved to be a daunting task for the Mustang defenders, sisters Alexa and Nicole Peyton, as well as junior Abby Stroup — who marked Moyer for the entire contest — stepped up admirably in front of keeper Lauren Jekowsky.
Junior Tegan Argo, two years removed from an all-state season, was given a red card late in the first half for tacking a defender who had a clear shot at the goal. While the play stopped the immediate Clarke scoring opportunity — at least until the ensuing free kick — the Mustangs were forced to play the rest of the game one player short. Even so, coach Jennifer Parsons' squad held its own, keeping possession and creating numerous scoring opportunities.
Following Argo’s penalty, Eagle midfielder Christel Tanner launched the free kick into the goal to send her team to the lead. With 5:28 left in the half, Moyer found the back of the net for her second goal of the night.
On the offensive end, Mason had to contend with Clarke’s eight-man defense, all of whom they stacked past midfield in an attempt to quell the Mustang attack. Just two minutes after Moyer’s second goal, Mason answered right back with a rocket Kazman shot from 35 yards out.
For the rest of the game, while Stroup held Moyer in check, the Mustangs were able to claw back into contention. Jekowsky held her own between posts, playing in place of Rebecca Jackson, who suffered what could possibly be a season-ending knee injury. The senior saved four shots in the second half, including a couple near misses by Moyer.
When it seemed that Clarke would prevail on their home field, junior Kim Kenny found a streaking Scott who promptly scored the equalizer with two minutes left in the game.
For two overtimes the Mustangs and Eagles fought, but neither side could muster up a final goal to earn the win.
The two teams will meet again on May 13 for Mason’s senior night in Falls Church, but it almost certainly will not be the last time Clarke (9-2-2, 6-0-1) and Mason (8-2-1, 6-0-1) will square off this season.
Scott continued her torrid district play last Friday, racking up a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Madison County. After Parsons rewarded the effort with a day off on Tuesday, Mason returned to the field at home in a non-district matchup with AA Park View on Wednesday. Results were not available at press time. On Friday, the team looks to remain undefeated as they travel to Rappahannock.