George Mason’s varsity boys soccer team picked up right where it left off last June as the Mustangs downed Rappahannock County High School 8-0 on Mar. 20 and bested Central High School 4-1 on Mar. 22.
This year’s Mason (2-0) team is different than past iterations, even if they produce similar results. Gone are dynamic strikers Donal Reyes de Leon and Elliot Mercado as well as playmaking midfielders Grant Goodwin and Samsudeen Sallah. Those departures made room for younger players to step in and leave their impression on the school’s storied soccer heritage.
But before they can go off trying to rewrite history books, the new Mustangs have to develop the requisite synergy on the field.
“Every team is different,” head coach Frank Spinello said. “Each team has things it needs to work on to build an identity. Right now we’re trying to find combinations to score goals.”
Spinello alluded to this as the chief obstacle for Mason’s 2017 team in the News-Press’ spring sports preview. So far the Mustangs have more than managed the challenge.
On the road against Rappahannock, Mason flexed its growing offensive muscles. Forwards got into the mix early and helped dictate the game’s flow with consistent possession and measured passing that took advantage of the Panther defense. As a result, the goals came pouring in.
Junior midfielder Tim Andrianarison’s hat trick led the way for the Mustangs as a seven-goal first half kept Rappahannock submerged in a deficit throughout the contest. Senior strikers Connor Anderson and junior Peter Scardino, as well as senior midfielder Olo Sembera Baracco also contributed goals. Freshman midfielder Cole Hellert and sophomore midfielder Nick Wells rounded out the scoring for Mason.
Two days later Mason’s offense was still hot while taking on Central. In the sixth minute Scardino found Wells with a right-footed cross that the sophomore knocked into the top left corner of the goal. By the 18th minute Wells racked up his second goal, this time coming on a left-side cross from junior midfielder Mathieu Viala. Freshman Henry Brorsen’s corner kick found Sembera Baracco’s head for the Mustangs’ third goal in the 67th minute while Scardino added one more in the final minute to finish the game strong for Mason.
After playing two games in three days, the Mustangs were wiped. Senior captains Wesley Quill and Nico Ferrara rewarded their teammates with a day off last Thursday before getting back to the grind in preparation for a Mar. 31 matchup against Warren County High School.