Mustangs Double-Down with 2 Shutouts in Postseason Action

VEERING LEFT to avoid a challenge from an East Rockingham High School defender is Mason’s senior forward Peter Scardino in the Mustangs’ 9-0 victory. (Photo: Carol Sly)

The utter dominance of George Mason High School’s boys soccer team emanates from every simple pass to scoring chance as they bowled over East Rockingham High School in the regional opener and Central High School in the Bull Run District championship.

Where, when and even how this team will be challenged remains to be seen. The Mustangs (15-0-1) haven’t conceded a goal in over a month and have racked up 80 in their favor in that same span. They’ve out-possessed, out-hustled and simply outplayed anyone who laces up the cleats to face them. Even though Mason’s been to the mountaintop before, getting past the same round that thwarted them last season and ended a four-year title run was worthy of a brief acknowledgment, right? Think again.

“We’re already on to the next game and we’re just taking it one at a time,” Mason head coach Frank Spinello said. “I know you get tired of hearing that, but it’s true, we’re not looking ahead at anything but the next team on our schedule.”

East Rockingham did their best to give Mason no reason to look ahead Monday night. The Eagles big and athletic defense made life tough for the Mustangs, and although senior defender Tim Andrianarison’s throw-in fortuitously found senior midfielder Carlos Mercado for a chip-in goal in the 12th minute, offense was an uphill climb for Mason for about 95 percent of the first half.

But then the dam broke in the 35th minute. Freshman midfielder Declan Quill carried the ball into the final third of the field and sent a soft shot that East Rockingham’s goalkeeper mishandled and watched trickle in. Two minutes later Andrianarison went left-to-right at the top of the penalty box and sliced a skipping shot that hit the lower left post. Down 3-0 instead of 1-0 at the half was the gut punch that took the Eagles off their game and helped Mason find its.

“East Rockingham was tough defensively, but we knew if we put three or four goals in they’d have to stretch the field to keep up,” Spinello continued. “We just became a lot more patient with our possessions from then on and it worked out.”

Five minutes into the second half senior forward Peter Scardino’s left-to-right cross banged off an Eagles’ knee to count as an own goal and on the next offensive possession the ball found sophomore midfielder Zorhan Boston open for a low rip for goal number five.

East Rockingham botched a free kick roughly 10 yards from Mason’s net and Scardino swooped in to take the ball the length of the field before earning the Mustangs a free kick in the Eagles’ defensive zone. Soon after, Mercado found Boston for his second goal, with his third coming minutes later after finishing Quill’s blocked shot on the rebound. Sophomores Hunter Broxson and Maddox Kong rounded out the scoring for the final 9-0 tally.

Along with a similar 9-0 final score against Central for the District title on May 24, Mason hasn’t flinched yet in a big moment. But even the team knows the road to another title only gets tougher.

Mason squared up with Clarke County High School for the regional semifinal game last night, but results weren’t available by press time.