by Matt Delaney
After being bounced 5-1 in their home opener, George Mason’s varsity girls soccer team responded with a huge 6-1 road win over local 6A squad Mount Vernon High School.
Head coach Allison Klink made it abundantly clear that, regardless of past success, the Mustangs needed to approach this season with the same hunger found in recent state title runs.
Taking a beating from Yorktown High School to start the season reminded Mason that success is a work in progress, mainly stemming from fluid play on the field.
“Each year is a new year, no matter how many returners,” Klink said.
“We need to figure out how this year’s team is going to mesh together and find the best formation that will make us the most successful.”
If Monday night’s game is any indication, Mason is headed in the right direction. The Mustangs dominated from the opening whistle thanks to sustained offensive possessions that flustered Mount Vernon.
Midfielders senior Ella Howard and junior Rebecca Crouch and sophomore forward Isabella Armstrong among others kept the pressure on Mount Vernon’s defense, exposing them time and again as Mason steadily racked up their six goals.
Conversely, defenders seniors Clara Frost and Caroline Stricker along with junior Carly Roberson fended off the Majors’ advances, keeping sophomore goalkeeper Laura Whitaker fairly at ease in her first action of the season.
The loss to Yorktown could’ve damaged Mason’s confidence entering the meat of their schedule, but instead it gave the Mustangs a pivotal lesson: using the boost from defensive stops to fuel the counterattack on offense.
“You can’t attack unless you defend first,” Klink said. “So we were making sure that everybody was encouraging those who were defending hard and keeping that momentum going starting from the defense.”
Lying at the heart of Mason’s road win was give and take by all players. Forwards assisted by defending the fringe while defenders boldly moved their lines up to establish a stronger offensive presence.
“We all rotate and make sure we have each other’s back,” Stricker said.
“Any time the defenders step up, you just gotta go back and track their man because they’re putting the effort into going up.”
Overall, the victory exemplified a team game and should be enjoyed – but not for long. The Mustangs go on the road for their first away match and first Conference 35 match of the season on Friday, April 1 against Warren County High School.