Spring Sports Seasons Launch with New Faces, Goals Renewed for Mason

Spring sports have already gotten underway for many of George Mason High School’s varsity student athletes with some teams already playing their first scrimmages. Some squads seek a return trip to the state championship, while others look to break into state-level competition. One team is primed for a fresh start with a new coach.

Boys Soccer
The boys soccer team has the same goal they have had the past four seasons, according to Coach Frank Spinello – “to win it all.”

The Mustangs have three defensive starters returning despite losing all-state defender Patrick Rollo: seniors Ze’ev Lailari and Brendan Fribley, both of whom are team captains, and Stephan Cotner. Junior goalie Sebastian Umerez will replace last season’s all-state goalie, Tyler Back. Senior Joe Reich and sophomores Sinan Kokuuslu and Cole Hinson are expected to fill the scoring void left by the departure of Jordan Robarge, the leading scorer last season.

Senior midfielder and team captain Eion Oosterbaan is the “engine that makes [the team] run smoothly,” Spinello said. “Eion is the type of player that can help our younger players mature quickly and contribute.”

The team’s season opens March 12 with a game against Freedom High School at home.

Girls Soccer
“The bar has been set very high.”

That’s what Coach Jennifer Parsons said is the biggest challenge for the girls soccer team, which has won four consecutive state championships. Parsons is looking towards “a solid group of juniors” to “contribute significantly” to fill a leadership void left by last year’s graduating class of six seniors.

Maggie Mascarenhas, a junior midfielder and second team all-district player last year, is one of five juniors on a team with two seniors, six sophomores and  five freshmen. Leah Roth, a senior forward, has been the leading scorer for the team each of her three years on varsity and has notched more than 100 goals over that span. Claire Trevisan is a sophomore midfielder and forward who earned all-district, all-region and all-state honors last year as a freshman.

“We are young,” Parsons said. “But we have a lot of talent and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. I’m very optimistic for what this season holds.”

The team’s season opens March 12 with a game at Freedom High School.

Boys Tennis
Finding depth in a transitional year will be the key to a state championship three-peat for the boys tennis team. The team lost seven players from its 16-person roster to graduation after last season and only fielded a 12-man team this season.

“Overall, our health will be our biggest challenge this year,” Coach Matt Sowers said. “Since we have four less players than last year’s squad and only four players with varsity experience this year, we will not be as deep as we have been in years past.” Sowers said that quickly identifying players to fill the fifth and sixth seed spots for singles play will be a key to achieving the success of past years.

Senior and 2011 state champion in singles Kan Tagami returns to the Mustangs line-up as well as the following starters: senior Karl Campanella-Dysart, junior Tommy Weber and sophomore Nate Jones.

The team’s season opens March 12 with a game at Washington and Lee High School.

Girls Tennis
This season is “definitely” a rebuilding season for the girls tennis team, according to Coach Chrisline Baldo. Its top six singles players and top three doubles teams from the 2011 season graduated and young returning players and new players make up the team this season. Baldo said that sophomore Peggy Brozi hits the ball harder and shows more confidence on the court than last season.

“The girls I have are motivated to do hard work, and will do whatever it takes to reach their personal and team goal,” Baldo said.

The team’s season opens March 12 with a game against Washington and Lee High School at home.

Senior first baseman and pitcher Max Kaplow will anchor a boys baseball team that has to adjust to departed seniors and new regulations on non-wood bats.¬†Kaplow, reigning Bull Run District player of the year, along with two other seniors, catcher Stephen Lubnow and outfielder Jack Trainor, are considered top players in the district. Paul Weber, a second team all-state outfielder and the Mustangs’ lead batter in 2011, graduated and now plays for West Point Academy.

“Last year’s team was solid throughout the batting order. We had some guys that had very productive seasons at the plate and allowed us to score over 200 runs,” said Coach Adam Amerine. “This year we are going to have to find different ways to produce runs with the new bats and key losses from 2011.”

The team’s season opens March 15 with a game against Broad Run High School at home.

Coach Jonny Kelly said the softball team is “growing” this season in comparison to last season when the team lost 10-0 in the Bull Run District semifinal to Madison County High School before losing to East Rockingham High School 25-0 in the Region B quarterfinals. The team finished the season with an 8-11 record.

“We are always working on fundamentals,” Kelly said.

The team’s season opens March 13 with a game against JEB Stuart High School at home.

Boys and Girls Track
The track team is returning qualifiers for the state championship in the distance events, but also has sprinters and field athletes that “are working hard and will be extremely competitive this spring as well,” Coach Maureen Taylor said. Despite losing seniors named to the all-state team last season, this season’s team is ready to compete and already stepping up, Taylor said.

“Our team is definitely aiming for the top,” she said. “We will have work to do to get there, but we have the talent and ability to do well.”

The teams’ first meet of the season is the Tri-meet with Manassas Park and Pope John Paul the Great high schools March 27 at Pope John Paul the Great High School.

Boys Lacrosse
Zack Barrett, first year head coach for the boys lacrosse team, said he hopes to “rebuild the program from the ground up.”

Barrett, who was an assistant coach for the Mustangs the past six years, said after finishing last season 3-12, “a few of the seniors realized how much work they needed to put in and a bunch of them have taken some good steps in the right direction.”

Attackman Will Powell and midfielder Nico Ocampo are two seniors on offense who bring several years of experience to the team. Ocampo is “going to push everyone around him to make them a better lacrosse player,” Barrett said. On defense, senior Vance Romero is a solid defender who can “go toe-to-toe” with “any attackman in the Dulles district,” Barrett said.

The Mustangs, who finished 8-7 in 2010 and 13-3 in 2009, will focus on fundamentals and conditioning this year to be competitive.

“We’ll need to be in the best shape possible and play some smart offense,” Barrett said.

The team’s season opens March 15 with a game against Brentsville District High School at home.

Girls Lacrosse
The girls lacrosse team finished the 2011 season with a 5-9 record, their first losing season since 2007, and lost to Freedom South High School in the opening round of the Dulles district tournament.

The team’s season opens March 13 with a game against Eastern View High School at home.