by Matt Delaney
Three road games in a week led to three more wins for George Mason’s varsity boys soccer team who fattened their perfect 10-0 record to the tune of a 10-0 final over Warren County High School, a 2-1 decision against crosstown rival Falls Church High School and a 2-0 win over Clarke County High School.
Mason’s second meeting with Warren County played out much like their first. The Mustangs offense ran the table by racking up seven first half goals against the Wildcats before cutting the contest short with three more in the second half. Goal leaders were senior forward Elliot Mercado who made his mark with a hat trick and senior midfielder Samsudeen Sallah notched two of his own. Senior midfielder Grant Goodwin did his part by assisting three of Mason’s goals. Sallah also had two assists and Mercado earned one as well.
The Mustangs had a welcome change to their travel schedule when they ventured just over five miles to play local rival Falls Church High School.
Falls Church – a 5A school based in the Fairfax County school system – gave Mason their first test since their season opener against Mount Vernon High School; coincidentally, another 5A school. Teams from higher classifications in the Virginia High School League don’t make the same mistakes that the Mustangs Conference 35 opponents regularly do, making these games a good measuring stick for how Mason will stack up against elite competition from their native 2A classification.
“It was a real good challenge to play against a bigger school,” head coach Frank Spinello said. “They’re goalkeeper made some great plays to keep the score pretty close, but our guys rose to the challenge.”
Mason certainly did. They’re offense kept up the heat throughout both halves and tallied a goal in each of them; one from Mercado and the other from Sallah. Junior goalkeeper Walker Hegadorn, who can go multiple games without facing a shot, recorded nine big saves against the Jaguars while limiting them to one score.
When facing Clark County, Mason realized they’re playing identical games just against different schools.
“Because of all our earlier big scores, teams have been stressing their defense strategies [against us],” Spinello said.
Clarke County, similar to Madison County High School before them, withheld a genuine offensive effort in hopes of avoiding an early end to the game. However, their strategic success can’t overshadow a competitive shortcoming as they endured a barrage of Mason shots while only putting up three of their own. Forwards senior Donal Reyes de Leon and sophomore Kevin Valle both found the back of the net and secured Mason’s victory.
The Mustangs aim to sustain their perfect record when they host Strasburg High School on Friday, April 29.