by Matt Delaney
A regular season that started with a loss to Yorktown High School and a tie with Warren County High School is set to finish on win streak as George Mason’s varsity girls soccer team beats William Monroe High School 4-1 heading into their final game later this week.
William Monroe’s intensity immediately noticeable. They attacked loose balls and made life difficult for Mason offense, disrupting the Mustangs with their physicality. The Dragons matched Mason’s athleticism as well and took away the surplus of opportunities near the net and lengthy possessions Mason enjoys in most games.
Despite the usual abundance of scoring chances, Mason was effective in the chances they did get.
“It’s actually better for us to have that type of challenge and have that type of pressure,” head coach Allison Klink said. “It helps us realize that we have to play fast and play to feet.”
The Mustangs got a speedy start when sophomore Victoria Rund hit a hot shot that William Monroe’s goalkeeper bobbled into the goal just three minutes in. But William Monroe didn’t wilt and retaliated with a score of their own twenty minutes later, putting the first shot past sophomore goalkeeper Laura Whitaker since Mason’s game against Clarke County High School on April 22.
Mason got punched and William Monroe punched back, which hasn’t been a regular occurrence this season. That didn’t slow the Mustangs hasty response to William Monroe’s equalizer by countering with two goals in the next ten minutes, coming from the knee of senior midfielder Corinne Carson and a rocket from junior midfielder Rebecca Crouch just under the crossbar.
“There was a lot of energy and drive to win the ball back and score some more goals,” senior defender Clara Frost said. “Instead of being defeated after we got scored on we stepped up again tonight.”
“When those type of things happen, we have to look at what to do next,” Klink added. “They knew they had to respond right away with a goal to put the game back in our hands.”
A 3-1 lead at the half doused the Dragons’ fire with another Mason goal by Crouch in the second half ensuring the win.
Quality showings against real competition are always confidence boosters, but Mason realizes they need to criticize their game to strengthen it. Frost believes finding feet and working better in transition are areas to improve upon for the upcoming postseason.
The Mustangs end their regular season with a game against Clarke County High School on Friday, May 20 before conference playoffs begin at the start of next week.