Sports

Mason Athletes Ready for Spring Season

The spring is about to get busy for George Mason High School student athletes. Several teams had their season kick-off last week.

The spring is about to get busy for George Mason High School student athletes. Several teams had their season kick-off last week.

Mason state champion teams, such as boys and girls soccer and boys tennis, return to action with the responsibility of being the top state team. Other teams will fight to remain competitive in the state level.

Defending the title or not, it is play time for Mason athletics.

Baseball

The George Mason High School baseball team season-opener was against Freedom High School on March 15. They play Freedom High again on March 21 at 5 p.m. for their first home game.

Last season, the number one-seeded Mustangs lost in the Bull Run District tournament to Madison County High School, 1-2. The Mustangs ended their season in the regional quarterfinals, dropping to Central High School, 2-3, and finished the season with a 15-8 record.

“Graduating six seniors including our top two arms, it will take a lot of work to repeat as district champions,” head coach Adam Amerine said. “We have some of the pieces in place to contend, but will need the newcomers to get up to speed quickly to compete for a Bull Run title.”

Pitchers Max Kaplow and Stephen Lubnow, both juniors, and senior Paul Weber are important returning players this season.

“Lubnow, Kaplow and Weber will be key to making the offense work,” Amerine said. “Max Kaplow will take over as the top arm on our pitching staff. He has all the tools to be very good and win us some ball games.”

Less experienced and younger players will have to step up this season to guarantee the success of the team.

“Jack Trainor and Jon Freeman who started a few games last year will also be relied on heavily now as full-time starters. Sophomores Vijay Menon, Nick Bourbeau, Brian Crigler and Lucas Cherry will also be asked to fill a variety of roles on this year’s team from DH to defensive replacements, but we ask everyone to contribute in some way so there are high expectations on these young players.”

Softball

The softball team had their first game of the season away against Freedom High School on March 15.

The team only graduated one senior last year, Sara Langford, having the majority of its players returning.

Last year, the team had a 9-10 record coming into district quarterfinals against Rappahannock.

The 2010 season was the best season they had in the past four years. In 2009, they only had two victories. They finished their record with 1-16 campaign in 2008. Their record was 2-16 in 2007.

The Mustangs have two away games before they play their first home game. They play Wakefield High School on March 17, and Stuart High School on March 18. Their first home game is against Freedom High School on March 21 at 5 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse

The boys lacrosse team lost to South Lakes High School, 4-16, at home on March 15 to start their season. The team finished last season with a 8-7 record.

“This season we have a relatively young team. We have only 4 seniors on the team,” head coach Luke Altmeyer said. “We expect the seniors and the juniors on the team to step up and lead our younger players.”

Seniors Mitch Hirsch and Ham Smith, and juniors Will Powell and Ben Tourkin are key players for this season.

“By the start of games the team should be pretty solid and could surprise some of the other schools,” Altmeyer said. “There is still a lot of work to be done before the season starts but the players are working hard and preparing themselves for themselves for the season opener.”

The Mustangs take on Freedom High School at home on March 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse

The girls lacrosse team play their season-opener against Freedom High School on March 17.

Mason had a 15-2 record last season. The two losses came at the end of the season in the Dulles District Girls Lacrosse final against Broad Run High School, 11-15. After dropping to Broad Run, Mason lost to Monticello High School in the AA regional tournament.

The Mustangs come back to the field on March 21 at home. They play South Lakes High School at 7 p.m.

Boys Soccer

The two-time state champion boys soccer team had its season kick-off at home against Loudoun Valley High School on March 16 at 7:30 p.m.

“We return some very key players from our last two championship teams,” head coach Frank Spinello said. “All-state defender Patrick Rollo is a natural leader and has been a key player for us since he was a freshman. Goalkeeper Tyler Back is an amazing talent who is a four year starter for us. Midfielder Eion Oosterbaan may be the most professional and hardworking player I have ever coached, he is a great playmaker and has amazing vision of the field.”

Mason won both state championship games against Radford High School, the last being 2-1. They finished last season with 20 wins, only one loss, and four ties, setting up high standards for this season.

“I expect our team to work hard, and be prepared to play with energy and passion,” Spinello said. “I expect our players to be role models within the community. I expect our practices to be higher intensity and players competing at practice every day.”

Girls Soccer

The three-time state champion girls soccer team won their first game of the season against Notre Dame Academy, 11-0, on March 14.

“We have a lot to defend this season,” head coach Jennifer Parsons said. “We also know that we are targeted by our opponents as the team to beat, so I think that is quite exciting, but can also put some pressure on our shoulders.”

The Lady Mustangs topped Radford High School to win last year’s state championship, 3-1.

“We graduated five starting seniors last season, but I am confident that we will have players step into those roles and do quite well,” Parsons said.

Key returning players come back to the field to play for another state title.

“We are returning some great key players, including last year’s state, regional and district player of the year, senior midfielder Violet Miller,” Parsons said.

Miller recently signed her National Letter of Intent to play Division 1 soccer at the University of Richmond.

“Also, in addition to Violet, we are returning First-team all-district, all-region and all-state honorees, senior midfielder Elle Silverman; senior midfielder Hannah Walker and Junior forward Leah Roth, the leading goal-scorer for the past two seasons. Violet, Elle and Hannah are each looking to win their fourth consecutive State title.”

The Mustangs are back in action in a home game against Kettle Run High School on March 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Boys Tennis

The defending state champion boys tennis team started their season with a victory, 9-0, against Wakefield High School on March 14.

Last season, Mason beat Radford High School, 5-1, to be become the state champions, finishing the season with a 12-5 record, and an overall individual match record at 21-2 against other single A schools. The Mustangs lost two seniors from last season, Eric Gemond and Miles Butler, but have four state-champion starters returning. “Junior Kan Tagami returns at the number one seeded player,” head coach Matt Sowers said. “Kan injured his foot in the post-season last year minimizing his ability to cover all corners of the court.  He is healthy this spring and looks to improve on his 21-6 overall record from last season.”

Along with Tagami, starting players sophomore Tommy Weber and seniors Sam Waters and Jay Rodock are back this season.

“Jay Rodock returns to the team as the captain of the Mason tennis squad this season,” Sowers said. “Both his leadership and court presence (13-7 record last season) at the net helps propel him into a top seeded player.”

With some of the key players returning and carrying the experience of a state championship, Sowers has high goals for the season.

“My expectations are to remain competitive whether competing at single A, AA, AAA, or private schools that are independent that we will face this season,” Sowars said. “My expectations are that we win 75% of our regular season matches, win the Bull Run District, win Region B, and compete for a back-to-back state championship which would bring our program overall state championships total to 14 tying Maury High School of Norfolk.”

The boys are away for the next three matches against Kettle Run High School, Stonewall Jackson High School, and Heritage High School, respectively. They match on March 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Girls Tennis

The Mason girls tennis team lost against Wakefield High School, 4-5, away on March 14. It was their second match of the season. The team won their first season match, 9-0, against Park View High School on Tuesday, March 8, also away.

The girls make their debut at home against Kettle Run High School on March 18 at 4:30 p.m.

“I have a lot of new players this season. Most of them are 9th graders with great talents,” Baldo said. “With the combination of my returning players from last season and the new players, I think our team is going to be good this season. I am really looking forward to see all of them shine on and off the courts.”

Last season, the Lady Mustangs won the Region B championship, but fell short on the state tournament. Mason ended their season with a loss in the Virginia Group A team semi-finals, 0-5. In the doubles tournament, Mason’s Kelsey Kane and Claire Sedmak lost in the finals to a Bland County pair.

“I encourage my girls to always practice hard, play their best tennis and aim for a winning season,” Baldo said. “But most of all I expect them to have fun this season.”

Read about the George Mason High School track team in next week’s Falls Church News-Press.