Mason Girls Preserve District Edge

LAURA WHITAKER and Mason’s defense blocked out Clarke County’s scoring chances in the second half. (Photo: Carol Sly)

The climb towards an 11th straight Class 2 state title continued this week for George Mason High School’s girls soccer team as it tied Clarke County High School 3-3 before delivering an 8-0 thumping to Rappahannock County High School.

Mason (6-3-1) had a confident return to Bull Run District competition just under a month ago and have yet to experience a loss against their familiar foes. However, the tie against Clarke County last Friday was not ideal to head coach George Bitadze or the Mustangs

“Clarke County made us pay for our mistakes. Some of the other [Bull Run] teams will hesitate and not jump on our mistakes right away, but Clarke County did and it put us behind at halftime,” Bitadze said. “We were able to come back in the second half, but I still am not happy about the tie.”

The Eagles – one of the Mustangs’ longest standing rivals across all sports – were sharp from the opening draw. They out-worked and out-executed Mason and, just as Bitadze said, they pounced on scoring opportunities instinctively. After three tallies eluded the Mustangs back line and senior goalkeeper Laura Whitaker by the half, Mason had to change its approach.

The final 40 minutes had a noticeable new tone. Mason reaffirmed their competitive will by beating back Clarke County’s advances while capitalizing on their own by wearing down the Eagles with approaches from the wing and through the middle. When the final whistle blew, Mason knotted the score up at 3-3 but ran out of time to before they could capitalize on a tie-breaking push.

There was far less drama in the Mustangs’ game against Rappahannock County Tuesday night.

A slew of offsides penalties halted any scoring, save for midfielder Victoria Rund’s lone goal, in the first half. But from the 45th to the 53rd minutes, junior Maura Mann and seniors Jessie Beddow and Sophie Matton knocked in their shots to bring Mason to a 6-0 advantage. Rund finished with a hat trick.

Mason will square off against Strasburg High School tomorrow on the road.