In one of the most thrilling games in recent memory, the George Mason High School varsity girls soccer team conquered their demons, defeating Clarke County last Thursday for the second straight time this season to win the Bull Run tournament final, completing the Mustangs’ sweep of one of the toughest teams in the state.
After 80 minutes of regulation, two overtime periods and 10 penalty kicks, Mason stood victorious at Moore Cadillac Stadium, 5-4 in the shootout. After outshooting Clarke 21-10 for the game, the Eagles finally capitalized after a letdown by Mason with a minute left in regulation.
From 10 yards out, Eagle Sarah Elliston neatly punched a cross from forward Danielle Moyer past Mason keeper Rebecca Jackson for the equalizer, sending the game into overtime. After the two five-minute extra periods and one “golden goal,” sudden death overtime ended without a decisive strike, the already hyped-up crowd at Mason was sent into a frenzy with the prospect of penalty kicks.
For the majority of the 10 shots, though, the shooters for both sides scored with relative ease. The difference came on the first shot, when Clarke’s Christel Tanner hit the crossbar, ricocheting off harmlessly. Mustang freshman Violet Miller followed suit, promptly nailing the crossbar, but her ball had enough power on it to find the back of the net.
From there, neither team missed a penalty kick, but Mason was just perfect enough to steal the district title, with Rachel Kazman, Kim Kenny, Tegan Argo and Olivia Scott also netting the final penalty kicks to secure the tournament hardware.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Mason Head Coach Jennifer Parsons, who was named the district Coach of the Year following the contest. “It allowed us to stay at home for pretty much the entire post season, giving us a huge advantage.”
The awards did not stop with Parsons either, as Scott, who will attend Messiah College next fall to play soccer, was named to the first-team all-district and the Bull Run Player of the Year. Kenny, Miller and freshman Elle Silverman also earned first-team accolades.
Junior defender Abby Stroup and Jackson collected second team all-district honors, as well. Kazman, who assisted on the first goal of the night against Clarke scored by Katja Butts with 25 minutes left in the second half, continued her impressive senior campaign, earning first-team all-district honors as well. Kazman will continue her career at Lynchburg College in the fall.
Having fallen to Clarke four times last season, Mason has beaten the Eagles twice at home in as many weeks, downing the state runners-up to win both the regular season and tournament title. For Parsons, though, it was the latest victory that was the sweetest.
“You never really know how it’s going to go in penalty kicks,” commented Parsons. “The girls fought really hard in the overtimes, and it was just the best way to end the game.”
On Memorial Day, the Mustangs blasted Shenandoah District runner-up Buffalo Gap at home in the first round of the Region B tournament, 11-0. Scott more than justified her awards, netting a hat trick. JV call-up Hannah Walker scored her first varsity goal, while Kazman, sophomore Kelley Frank and sisters Nicole and Alexa Peyton added scores for the Mustangs. Miller found the back of the net twice, while Mayssa Chehata also recorded a goal.
With the win, Mason took on Appomattox on Wednesday at home, with a trip to the state tournament on the line. Results were not available at press time. The way the team has been playing of late has led to high hopes for Parsons.
“I’m really happy with the way the team has come together, from the seniors all the way down to the freshmen,” said Parsons. “We’ve all just gelled lately. I’m really excited for the next two weeks; I think this could be the year we win states.”