Sports

Back-to-Back-to-Back: Mason High Girls Soccer Tops Radford in Championship Game to Win 3rd Consecutive State Title

2010-State-ChampionsFor George Mason High’s girls’ soccer team, the four-hour post-season trip to Radford University for the state championships has almost become an annual ritual. So its the process of returning home with a Virginia Group A state championship.

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THE LADY MUSTANGS celebrate with their third straight state trophy after Saturday’s title game. (Photo: Dennis O’Rourke)

For George Mason High’s girls’ soccer team, the four-hour post-season trip to Radford University for the state championships has almost become an annual ritual. So its the process of returning home with a Virginia Group A state championship.

They made it a record three championships in a row last weekend with a solid 3-1 victory over Radford High. Things started a little slowly, but by the second half, Mason was in command and did not let up.

Coach Jennifer Parsons hailed the work of senior defenders Kelley Frank, Shelley Gresko and Nicole Peyton and goalie Nicole Mitchell. “The experience, leadership and desire to end their soccer careers with a state championship was evident in these upperclassmen,” she said in comments to the News-Press, adding junior Annie Geren to her list of first-rate defenders.

Radford started out thirsting for revenge, having lost to Mason each of the last two years in the title game, scoring on a corner kick just 30 seconds into play and dominating the first 15 minutes.

Then Mason’s Hannah Walker tied the score from a corner kick by freshman Maggie Mascarhenas. Walker beat the keeper to the near post and headed the ball in.

 

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(Photo: Dennis O’Rourke)

Scored around the 20 minute mark, it turned the tempo of the game around, boosting Mason’s confidence by taking away the pressure of trailing. Mason dominated the play from that point on, holding possessions and creating repeated goal-scoring opportunities.

 

Midfielders, in particular juniors Elle Silverman and Violet Miller and senior Karen Hamill, stifled Radford while creating numerous chances for Mason, and with five minutes to go in the first half, Mascarenhas hit the cross bar, barely missing a score with a 20-yard shot.

With two minutes to go in the half, Radford’s stat Lexi Denny drew a foul, winning a penalty shot chance that was blocked by Mason’s Mitchell. But a Radford player controlled the rebound and scored, making it 1-1 at the half.

Walker and Leah Roth dominated the start of the second half for Mason, and 10 minutes in, Roth scored after the two of them forced a Radford turnover. Roth got the ball on a breakaway, and went one-on-one with the Radford goalie, dribbled around her and put the ball in the open net.

Five minutes later, Hamill, Miller and Silverman strung together a series of passes to move inside the 18-yard box, where Walker dribbled around a defender and scored a goal from 12 yards out.

Up 3-1, Mason played out the final 20 minutes, creating additional opportunities and dominating the control of the ball. Walker was fouled with 10 minutes to go, but Mason missed the penalty shot.

Keeping Radford’s star Denny under wraps, Mason held Radford to one good shot in that entire span, that Mitchell deflected over the crossbar.

Coach Parsons commented, “I think the championship game was very similar to our season as a whole – we had a bumpy start and learned a lot from our mistakes. We steadily grew better every day, just as we did with each minute in the championship game. As soon as we found some success and gained a little confidence, we proved that we were unbeatable. I am so proud to be part of this program, and I’m very proud of each and every girl on this team.”

More shots of the girl’s title game victory on Saturday (Photos: Dennis O’Rourke):

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