You can win state quarterfinal matches by double-digit goals, or by one goal. In either scenario, it’s a win, and an advancement.
The George Mason High School boys soccer team defeated Northampton 1-0 on Tuesday to move on to the state semifinals.
The state semis are this Friday.
The match’s only goal came off the foot of the Mustangs’ Harris Schaffer in the 50th minute. Jordan Robarge attacked the net. After the defense collapsed, he delivered a pass to Schaffer, who connected in the upper right corner for the 1-0 lead.
“Northampton was a very good team,” said Mason head coach Frank Spinello. “They were very similar to us. They didn’t quit. They made it a very tough match. It was a very close game.”
The game plan was to come out attacking.
“We started off really strong and let the ball do the work,” Spinello said.
The coach was quick to credit the play of his midfielders.
“Our midfield was the difference in the match,” he said.
Spinello also added that goalkeeper Tyler Black played a key role, including 10 saves.
“I think he managed the match very well,” Spinello said. “He dictated the pace a little bit.”
Last week, Mason defeated Buckingham 7-0 in the Region B semifinal before losing to Manassas Park 2-1 in the Region B final on Friday.
The Mustangs have faced Manassas Park four times this season. Mason won their first meeting 1-0 during the first week of April, but have lost the last three meetings.
“They peaked at the right time,” Spinello said. “I think we’re peaking at the right time.”
Manassas Park also advanced to the state semifinals on the other side of the bracket, leaving open the chance the two rivals might meet for a fifth time in the finals.
With the semifinals this Friday and the finals on Saturday, both at Radford University, Spinello continues his mantra of getting better each game. He also said that if Mason plays to its potential, they can beat anyone.
Including Manassas Park.
“If we play fearless, there’s no reason we can’t beat them,” Spinello said.