After winning the Bull Run District tournament on nail-biting penalty kicks, the George Mason High School varsity girls soccer team stayed sharp, unleashing a torrid fury of offensive output last week in the Region B tournament, outscoring opponents 32-0 to secure the title and a berth in the state tournament this week.
In their two contests in the Bull Run tournament, the Mustangs only put up four goals, but a revamped offense tore through the opposition from Region B, setting down Buffalo Gap, Appomattox and Goochland in orderly and authoritative fashion at Moore Cadillac Stadium.
Perhaps the biggest challenge — a very loosely used term — was posed by Goochland High School out of the James River District last Friday in the Region B final. Even then, the Bulldogs fell to Mason 11-0, but the Bulldogs did manage to get off a few shots on goal, something their predecessors failed to do against the stingy Mustang defense.
Anchored by a trio of goalies in Rebecca Jackson, Lauren Jekowsky and Catlin Sickler, in addition to defenders Alexa Peyton, Tegan Argo and Abby Stroup, the Mason defense limited shots on goal to single digits in the Region B tournament, and has given up only two goals since May 5.
A big reason why the defense has been so stellar is because the Mustang offense has been equally relentless, controlling possession with quick strikes to the back of the net. Against Goochland, goals were scored by senior Rachel Kazman, sophomore Karen Hamill, freshman Violet Miller (3), senior Olivia Scott (2), sophomore Kelley Frank (2), sophomore Mayssa Chehata and freshman Elle Silverman.
On the morning of June 2, the All-Region B team was announced, with Scott taking top honors as First-team All-Region and the Player of the Year. Kazman, Miller and junior Kim Kenny also earned First-team accolades, while Silverman garnered second-team honors.
Last Wednesday, Mason sealed their entry in the state tournament with a 10-0 triumph over Appomattox. Scott started things off right with a header off a beautiful cross from junior Nicole Peyton in the fifth minute.
Just two minutes later, Miller beat keeper Dana Therkildsen but hit the right post. However Silverman was right there for the rebound, rocketing it to the back of the net. In the 13th minute, Kenny scored off a soft shot over the keeper’s head, while Miller followed suit off an assist by Chehata. 30 seconds later, Frank beat the last defender for a goal.
In the 16th minute, freshman JV call-up Hannah Walker gathered a rebound for the goal. Nicole Peyton scored in the 23rd minute off a long run, while Jekowsky rounded out the scoring with two minutes left in the game, pushing Mason to double digits yet again.
On Tuesday, before the downpour that drenched the boys game, the girls punished Washington & Lee High School — not to be confused with Washington-Lee High out of Arlington — 10-0, punching Mason’s ticket to the “final four” at Radford University and a trying date with defending state champions Radford High School.
Against the Eagles, Scott more than justified her postseason awards, netting four goals in the first 12 minutes. Miller tacked on the next two, followed by Scott who netted her fifth of the contest. Kazman and Walker added on the final scores of the night, all 10 of which came in the first half. Washington & Lee, one of two girls soccer programs in the entirety of Region A, entered the contest against Mason with a 1-11 record and instantly seemed overwhelmed against the fast and skilled Mustangs.
Earlier in the season, Mason coach Jennifer Parsons said that she refused to let her team look ahead to a semifinal matchup with Radford but, with Thursdays contest looming, the Mustangs face their biggest game of the season.
The Bobcats graduated a number of strong players from last season, including Krista Patterson, who scored the lone goal in Radford’s 1-0 victory over Mason in the semi-finals of last year’s state tournament. However, they also bring back goalie Desi Simmons, the Three Rivers District player of the year.
“I don’t know much about Radford,” said Parsons last week. “I just know that they have an amazing goalkeeper [Simmons], which presents a big challenge for us. The girls are just looking forward to a rematch with them.”
The Mustangs will have to get through this coming weekend without Alexa Peyton, whose recent MRI revealed a torn ACL. The starting sweeper will be out for the rest of the year.
In what should be essentially the de facto state championship game, Mason will take on Radford High School at the Radford University soccer complex on Friday at 4 p.m. The winner will move on to the championship on Saturday at noon.
Correction: Last week’s article incorrectly identified Rachel Kazman as having scored the first goal against Clarke County. That was incorrect. Freshman Katja Butts put in the only Mason goal in a 2-1 (5-4) victory for the Bull Run District final.