By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s varsity boys soccer team is set to face Clarke County High School in the Bull Run District championship tomorrow night. The Mustangs have outscored the Eagles 10-1 in the two matches played against each other this season. Still, Head Coach Frank Spinello said he looked at game film to see if his team needs to make any adjustments to prepare for the match.
“I think our main goal has to be to maintain focus,” Spinello said. “We can’t look back at the two previous games against Clarke that were pretty easy wins and we can’t go out and give 80 percent effort and think that’s going to get the job done.”
The Mustangs have been trampling opponents on the road to the championship. They beat Rappahannock County High School 8-0 last Friday in the quarterfinals and beat Central High School 7-0 on Tuesday in the semifinals.
Junior midfielder Paul Darmstadter, junior striker Cole Hinson, and freshman striker Raheem Lawal all scored two goals against the Rappahannock County.
Hinson and Lawal are co-leaders on the team in scoring with 19 goals a piece. But for much of the season, Lawal led the team and many other players in the region in scoring. He said “it feels great” to contribute on the team as a freshman.
“My job as a forward is to score goals for the team, so when I’m scoring it feels good and [I] try to help my teammates out, too,” Lawal said.
Senior striker/midfielder Adam Witzel and junior midfielder Brian Connelly scored a goal each during the match. Hinson assisted with two of the Mustangs’ goals while several other players contributed to the scoring tally with assists. Senior midfielder Henry Darmstadter, Paul Darmstadter, sophomore defender Henderson Beam, sophomore midfielders Kavon Nowroozi and Thomas Rund, and freshman midfielder Grant Goodwin each assisted with one goal against the Panthers.
Henry Darmstadter said the game against Rappahannock County was a team effort. “Last week I know we possessed the ball really well and we didn’t give them any chance on goal,” he said.
He said the game against Central was also a team effort. Only one player, junior midfielder/striker Sinan Kokuuslu, scored more than one goal in the match.
“I think we possessed the ball well and won as a team,” Henry Darmstadter said. “That means that we connected through everyone and everybody contributed to the win, not just one sole person.”
Henry Darmstadter crossed a ball in during a corner kick in the seventh minute that bounced in front of the goal a few times before senior midfielder/striker Kurt Ellis kicked it into the back of the net for the first goal of the game. In the 18th minute, Henry Darmstadter scored on a free kick in front of the goal that was awarded to the Mustangs after the Central goalkeeper came outside of the penalty box while handling the ball. Kokuuslu scored his first and the Mustangs’ third goal in the 19th minute. The score at halftime was 3-0.
“In the beginning of the game we did start off a bit slow playing with Central and all,” Kokuuslu said. “But we stepped it up as per usual and we started playing our game.”
Lawal scored the Mustangs’ fourth goal in the 60th minute when he dribbled around the goalkeeper and kicked the ball into an empty goal. Kokuuslu scored the Mustangs’ fifth goal on a header in the 68th minute after receiving a cross from junior defender Owen Puller. Paul Darmstadter scored the Mustangs’ sixth goal moments later after dribbling the ball through the heart of the Falcons defense. Junior midfielder Ben Mitchell scored the Mustangs’ seventh goal in the 75th minute after Lawal passed the ball through the Falcons’ defense to him.
Kokuuslu said that defense was “crucial” to the Mustangs’ large margin of victory against the Falcons. “We had Ned Quill in the back and he was a rock,” Kokuuslu said. “Every challenge they had against us he essentially knocked it out.”
The Mustangs have only been scored on seven times all season while scoring 71 goals. They are currently on a 15-game undefeated streak and haven’t been scored on in their last four matches. After the game against the Falcons, Spinello said he thinks the team gets better every time they step out on the field.
Regardless of the outcome of the championship, the Mustangs will play Wilson Memorial High School in the quarterfinals of the Northern Virginia Region B post-season tournament next Monday.