Picking up steam as the season hovers around the midway point, George Mason High School’s girls soccer team nabbed two wins prior to its spring break this week.
By making quick work of Rappahannock County High School in an 8-0 win and grinding out a 3-0 victory over Bull Run District rival Strasburg High School, the Mustangs (5-2-1) are showing signs of the gradual ascent that they hope will end with a 12th straight Virginia Class 2 state title. The defense is holding strong thanks to an agile back line that’s allowing junior goalkeeper Josie Shaw to ease into her first year starting. And the midfield and forwards are staying active by keeping the offense moving fluidly and creating scoring chances. It’s culminated in a short surge that Mason looks to continue after the break concludes.
“We’re young as far as starters go — only five returning after graduating seven — but the fact that we’re keeping most teams off the scoreboard with three of our four defenders being new, I’m pretty proud of them,” head coach Leah Partridge said.
Against Rappahannock County on Friday, Mason adapted to some late schedule changes well. The varsity match took over the typical junior varsity time slot 5:30 p.m. due to a fear of thunderstorms. Still, Mason looked fresh as ever in their send-off before their week-long sabbatical.
Freshman midfielder Zoraida Icabalceta sent a through ball to junior forward Emma Rollins, who finished it within the first two minutes of the match. Four minutes later, Rollins paid back Icabalceta in full with a feed for the freshman’s first goal of the game. Icabalceta tallied her second assist when she connected with junior forward Gabriela Stevens to make it 3-0 for Mason under 10 minutes into the game. The scoring slowed for most of the rest of the half until senior midfielder Maddie Lacroix connected with fellow senior midfielder Kristen Kay on a drop pass that Kay scored from distance.
To start the second half, Rollins added her second on the night with an unassisted run at the net. Junior midfielder Maddie Mamajek helped Icabalceta score her second goal of the game just two minutes later to put the Mustangs up 6-0. Coming up from the back line, junior defender Helen Morris finished a cross from sophomore forward Emilia Cipriano within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Lacroix would assist Icabalceta’s hat trick moments later, and the game would end early due to the goal deficit.
Against Strasburg on April 9, Mason engaged in a more defensive battle. The back third of the field was stiff by only allowing one shot on goal.
Meanwhile, the offense met strong resistance navigating the Rams’ own defensive front. Rollins set up fellow forward Stevens’ opening goal 10 minutes in, but the Mustangs wouldn’t score again until the 56th minute when Lacroix’s through ball found Icabalceta near the end line. Morris sent a cross to junior midfielder Dani Valderrama-Avila with a few minutes left to complete the game’s goal total.
Mason will return to the pitch at home on Tuesday to face Madison County High School