Arts & Entertainment

Unbeaten Mustangs Close Out Clarke Co.

 

For the first time this millennium, a team has completed the Bull Run District boys varsity schedule with a flawless mark of 10-0-0, after the George Mason High School Mustangs’ topped Clarke County 4-0 in their final game of the regular season.

 

Senior Matt Gresko scored the first of two first-half goals against the Eagles Tuesday night. He scorched a shot inside the near post after receiving a drop pass from senior Andres Ramos at the 16-minute mark. Junior Anthony Andrianarison tallied in the 33rd minute, shepherding the ball from Mason’s end while beating several challengers, involving teammates Jon Brooks and Nick Smirniotopolous and then depositing a return pass from Smirniotopoulos into the net for a 2-0 advantage.

Sophomore Alex Casteuble scored on a free kick in the second half, with Gresko adding a second goal to cap the scoring ledger. Gresko’s second score came when he headed in a corner kick from Smirniotopoulos. The assist was Smirniotopoulos’s 11th on the year, a mark that leads both the team and the district.

Last Friday, the Mustangs won, 2-0, over Rappahannock County, but lost one of their key players for the remainder of the season. After scoring the first goal of the match 12 minutes after the opening kickoff, his 10th of the season, senior Antonio Randrianasolo was taken to the hospital after an opposing player took him down from the back. The diagnosis is a fractured ankle that will keep him out of the lineup indefinitely.

On Tuesday, the Mustangs dedicated the game to the senior striker, who finished his varsity career at Mason with a personal mark of 36-0-4 in Bull Run District regular-season play. He is the first Mason senior to ever achieve such a feat.

Gresko added the second goal in the Rappahannock game, while freshman keeper Tyler Back recorded three saves to earn the shutout.

With Antonio Randrianasolo out, the Mustangs will have to rely even more on their ball-control style that has allowed them to plow through district play unscathed. The Mustangs allowed just four goals during the entirety of their Bull Run regular season schedule, with Back posting clean sheets in his last four matches.

“Tyler has grown up a lot in the last six weeks,” said Head Coach Art Iwanicki, who coached in the 1,000th game of his career last Friday. “He has made many crucial saves and the lads seem to have incorporated into the fray recently. He has done more this year than we have asked of him.”

Now, Back and his teammates will turn their attention to the postseason, where the Mustangs’ regular season magic has worn off in the Region B Tournament since their last trip the the State Tournament in 2005. Last year, Mason’s season was snuffed out by Nelson County, the eventual state runners-up, in the Regionals. This year, the two teams are again projected on a collision course for the Region B Semifinals on May 28 if all teams advance as expected.

“I like the team chemistry this year,” Iwanicki said. I think it might be a little easier to get out of the Bull Run tourney with good results. I think we have players who know their roles and what we have to do to move on.”