Mustang Soccer Nabs District Title

By Drew Costley

George Mason High School’s boys varsity soccer team clinched the Bull Run District championship last Thursday with an 8-0 win over Strasburg High School. The district postseason tournament has been cancelled, but the George Mason Mustangs (14-1, 14-1) have also clinched the top seed in the Conference 35 tournament, which starts next week.

“We want to win everything that we can, so the district title is always important to us,” said George Mason Head Coach Frank Spinello. Spinello said he was pleased with his team’s performance against the Strasburg Rams (2-10-4, 2-10-4).

Paul Darmstadter, a senior midfielder, and Elliot Mercado, a sophomore striker, each scored three goals against the Rams. Raheem Lawal, a sophomore striker, and senior midfielder Sinan Kokuuslu both added a goal to the Mustangs’ tally.

Darmstadter also had two assists in the match. Mercado, Kokuuslu, junior midfielder Kavon Nowroozi, sophomore midfielder Grant Goodwin, and junior midfielder/defender Matteo D’Agostino each had one assist in the match.

“We pressured the ball extremely well with our midfielders, so the ball did not make it to our defenders very often – and all that starts with Grant and Kavon,” Spinello said. “Our attackers – Elliot, Raheem, and Paul – were very patient early in the game when they were parking the bus, defending with most of their team, early in the match. We played a lot of one- and two-touch passes very well, which helped open up space for us to penetrate.”

Spinello said the Mustangs “had a great team performance” in their 9-0 win over Rappahannock County High School on Monday.

“Our bench players came in and made immediate impacts on the game,” Spinello said. “[Junior] Tyler Marple, who has been a great asset off the bench at defensive midfielder finally got an open look and buried the chance he got. [Junior] Donal Reyes de Leon came in and created problems for defenders right away and crushed a half volley from a throw-in from [junior] Joshua Gross. Everyone contributed.”

Darmstadter, Mercado, and Lawal each scored two goals against the Rappahannock County Panthers (3-14, 3-14). Reyes de Leon and Marple each added in the Mustangs’ effort. Darmstadter had two assists and Lawal, Kokuuslu, Gross, and freshman midfielder Olo Sembera each had an assist in the match. Junior goalkeeper Daniel Donovan had a save against the Panthers.

“Starting quick took all the pressure off. … We had seven goals in the first 22 minutes, so we were able to use the rest of the match to work on some different formations for different situations that may come up in the postseason,” Spinello said. “We used the match very well.”

The Bull Run District athletic directors decided to cancel the postseason district tournaments for all spring sports at a May 1 meeting in order to allow for the regular season to be played out after a snowy and rainy spring sports season. The Mustangs have a bye in the first round of the Conference 35 tournament, which starts Monday. On Tuesday, they play the winner of Madison County High School’s opening-round matchup at Page County High School.