Back in the saddle again, George Mason High School’s boys soccer team defeated Springfield-based Robert E. Lee High School 4-0.
Tuesday night’s win was the first time this season that Mason (3-1-1) shut out its opponents — and a higher-classified one at that. But it wasn’t looking optimistic for Mason in the game’s first 25 minutes when the Lancers were making deep runs into Mustang territory. Two golden opportunities went awry for Lee and muted its momentum, allowing Mason to respond with two-goal spurt in a 10 minute window to give them a permanent advantage.
“It definitely felt good to have a good performance on both offense and defense,” Mason head coach Frank Spinello said. “It was the little things, like [sophomore midfielder] Declan Quill going back and defending, [senior defender] Miles [Lankford] covering all the ground in the back and making up for the mistakes. That stuff just energizes everybody else and the goals just come when we’re playing like that.”
After withstanding Lee’s initial push, Mason scored the first of its goals when a free kick just beyond midfield was lined into the penalty box. The ball deflected off the knee of freshman midfielder Benjamin Atkeson before sophomore forward Smith Kraft rammed it in with a low header around the 26th minute.
With about eight minutes to go in the first half the Mustangs would strike on another free kick. Lee was flagged for a violation toward a Mason defender and the ensuing set piece was a lofted through ball that senior forward Nick Wells caught on his right foot. Wells’ sent a sharp cross into the box which was fished into an opening by Kraft to convert his second goal of the game.
The Mustangs wasted no time putting up points in the second half. Quill fed a ball to Wells along the left side, who created a lane to the net after a nifty move against a Lancer defender. Wells’ outside the foot shot was thwarted by Lee’s keeper, as was junior forward Zorhan Boston’s follow-up attempt. But junior midfielder Hunter Broxson converted on a third try right after in the 43rd minute to boost Mason to a 3-0 margin.
Lee had a chance to cut the lead to two and regain some of its earlier fervor in the 58th minute when a set piece left its forward with an open look at goal. However, it pinged off the post. Three minutes later, Boston fired into the Lancers’ goalkeeper once again, with junior midfielder Corwin Miller cleaning up the rebound for the Mustangs’ final goal.
The win was a good sign for Mason. Holding an opponent from a bigger school scoreless and – more so – squeezing the life out of them over the course of the end of the first half and the start of the second half is sign of the team’s potential. Spinello believes the gelling process is taking hold and will only improve as they check off more games on the schedule.
Mason will play Loudoun County High School at home on April 4.