by Matt Delaney
Riding high on a five game win streak, George Mason’s varsity boys soccer team added two more W’s to their record when they defeated William Monroe High School 2-0 and blanked Rappahannock County High School 11-0 this past week.
The Mustangs were victims of their own success Tuesday night. Shutting out William Monroe in a hard-fought win should’ve incited a more cheery response but failed to do so. The Dragons crowded back line halted Mason’s offense whenever they came within 30 yards of the goal and had the Mustangs looking harried throughout.
“They were playing for counter attack and they did it very well,” head coach Frank Spinello said. “It frustrated our guys and made us work a little bit harder than we wanted to.”
William Monroe’s defense was as relentless as it was conspicuously congested, begging the question if they really were interested in launching a counter attack or if they were simply trying to avoid getting sent home early. Seeing that the visitor’s refused to go on offense until the final minutes of the game, it would appear to be the latter.
Fittingly, Mason was able to score when William Monroe was forced to slow down. Their first goal came in the 35th minute when senior midfielder Olo Sembera Baracco’s corner kick found senior midfielder Samsudeen Sallah for a header. Mason earned their second when William Monroe’s defense froze after losing track of a deflection, allowing Sembera Baracco to pounce on the loose ball for a slicing kick 10 yards outside the penalty box.
“[William Monroe] kinda packed it back behind, but we had possession we just couldn’t break through,” Sallah said. “We definitely wanted to break them down offensively and play creatively on our attack. Eventually we got those goals on our set pieces and everything worked out.
Last Friday’s early home game against Rappahannock County carried out in typical fashion for the Mustangs.
Goals were raining down on Rappahannock County’s keeper from the jump and secured a Mason win soon into the contest. The game ended early as per the Virginia High School League’s mercy rule.
A strong start is a must, but halfway through the season Spinello still holds out final judgment on whether this year’s Mason squad is on par with their championship past.
“It’s really early talent-wise and effort-wise so far, [but] I think we are,” Spinello said. “It’s going to come down to the tough games. We did decent tonight, but there’s gonna be a lot of tough games in the future so it depends on how we do in those.”
Mason hits the road for a Conference 35 game against Clarke County High School on Friday, April 22.