Sports

Mustangs Defend Conference 35 Title with a Win Over Clarke Co.

Mason junior midfielder Ella Howard darts through the Clarke County High School defense during the Mustangs’ conference championship win over the Eagles. (Photo: Liz Lizama)
Mason junior midfielder Ella Howard darts through the Clarke County High School defense during the Mustangs’ conference championship win over the Eagles. (Photo: Liz Lizama)

by Liz Lizama

The George Mason High School’s varsity girls soccer team notched yet another title with the Conference 35 championship win over Clarke County last Thursday.

The 4-2 victory landed the Mustangs the top seed advancing to the Region 2A East. Mason defeated East Rockingham High School 8-0 in the first round of the regional tournament on Monday.

While the Mustangs have shut out the majority of their opponents this season, Clarke County proved to be tougher in previous matchups this year. Last Thursday’s conference title game at Mason proved to be no different.

Fifteen minutes into the game, junior forward/midfielder Corinne Carson scored the first goal of the game for Mason as she dribbled through most of the Clarke defense unassisted.

After a defensive foul by Mason, Clarke tied the game 1-1 off a penalty shot. With five minutes left of the first half, senior forward/midfielder Ava Roth made a run to goal and passed to freshman forward/midfielder Izzy Armstrong to score Mason’s second goal.

Though lightning on the field caused a 45-minute delay during halftime, the teams returned to a close game with the Mustangs scoring 12 minutes into the half followed by a Clarke goal seven minutes later.

At 3-2 and five minutes remaining, Clarke’s defender handled the ball inside their penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick for Mason. Senior defender Jessica Gemond scored the final goal.
“I was proud of my team, as the girls had to battle for the win in this game against Clarke,” said head coach Jennifer Parsons.

“It was the first game in several weeks we were put under pressure by our opponent. I think it was extremely valuable for us to experience a challenging game like this on our way into the regional tournament.”

The win earned Mason home field advantage on Monday night in the regional quarterfinal against East Rockingham. While it took about five hours with a number of rain delays, Mason came out victorious scoring seven of the total eight goals in the first half alone.

Sophomore forward/midfielder Becca Crouch scored in the first three minutes of play before rain pushed a 90-minute delay on the game. Mason returned to play another 14 minutes with goals by Crouch and Roth, bringing the lead up 3-0 before inclement weather caused another delay.

The game resumed after 30 minutes with no further delays and four more Mason goals – two by Roth and one each for Crouch and junior midfielder Kate Mills. Junior midfielder Ella Howard scored Mason’s eighth goal during the second half.

Mason travelled to Goochland High School for the regional on Wednesday for the regional semifinal but results were not yet available at press time.

“If we win on Wednesday, we will guarantee ourselves a spot in the state tournament at Radford next week,” said Parsons ahead of the semifinal game.

That would make the eight consecutive state tournament appearance tournament for Mason, who has held the state title for the past seven years.