By Mike Abler
Three years removed from its most recent state title, George Mason High School’s boys soccer team rose to the mountaintop once again after beating Spotswood High School 4-2 for their 12th State Championship title last week.
This win capped off another impressive season for the Mustangs, but the beginning of the season wasn’t the kind of start they wanted. In the season opener, Mason tied Charles J. Colgan High School on the road 1-1.
That wound up being the only blemish of the season as the Mustangs would go on a 14-game winning streak for the rest of the season.
None of the games were even close, with 11 of those 14 wins being shutouts and the Mustangs outscoring their opponents 58-5 throughout the season.
But Covid made the possibility of playing a question mark.
“Since there was so much uncertainty about the season, we wanted to make every day count,” Mason head coach Frank Spinello said. The secret to Mason’s success was, “having competitive practices that kept us focused,” according to Spinello. Coach Greiner enforced a mantra of getting one percent better every day, and the team took this to heart.
The coaches helped the players prepare by giving them individual workouts and having Zoom meetings throughout the week.
It was in these Zoom meetings that Spinello and his staff instilled a sense of “Teamwork and the mental health of our players.”
Senior midfielder Declan Quill described playing for the Mustangs as, “Having a target on your back because everyone knows Mason’s history in soccer.” Quill also added that this victory was “The highlight of the season. It was great to hold that trophy above my head after the game.”
Quill attributed Mason’s success to the team’s overall leadership as well as having the entire team dialed in to win. “Having 27 guys committed allowed us to stay focused on the task at hand and allowed us to fight through the season.”
The team has always held a higher standard. Quill called it “The Mason standard,” where it’s not about just being successful on the field, but also doing well off the field. In his eyes, the team met those standards and expects more great things down the road. He gave props to the coaching staff as well, who he believes will continue to guide the team to its high level of achievement for years to come.
The Mustangs have been extraordinary throughout the majority of the past 20 years and have now won their seventh state title in 11 years (discounting the lost Spring 2020 season due to the pandemic). So Quill’s assessments of continued dominance for the team are frighteningly realistic.
“If we stick to playing Mason Soccer, future teams will be hard to beat,” Quill concluded.