By Kendra Webb
With a solid 3-0 victory, Saturday,
June 8th went down in history as the Mason girls’ varsity soccer
team clinched its first-ever Virginia ‘A’ Girls Soccer State Championship.
This came only after a hard-fought final game against Mason's abominable
foe, the Brentsville Tigers. Meeting for a fifth time this season after
two regular district games and the district and regional final matches,
they were split with two wins apiece.
The first half was evenly played
between the teams, resulting in a scoreless match. Twenty minutes into
the second half, everyone in Radford held his or her breath as Mason junior
midfielder Christina Sedney sent a ball lofting towards the far corner.
As the ball settled in the top of the net, the roaring crowd exploded as
the Mustangs broke the ice by scoring first.
The next goal came from sophomore
forward Becky Roa, and finally a follow-up goal late in the game from senior
forward Kendra Webb. Up a comfortable 3-0, the Mustangs simply had to ride
out the final minutes, as the reserves were put in.
Ample celebration broke out at the
final blow of the whistle as the Mason squad accomplished the unthinkable.
The opportunity to play in the championship
game came only after a 5-1 victory Friday afternoon in the semi-final match
against the Glenvar Highlanders. Playing some of the best soccer seen from
the team over the duration of the season, goals came from superstar youngsters
Roa with two, Christina "Kiki" Kirkbride, Claire Grubbs, and Alison Penland.
"We took care of business," stated
head coach Cliff Carroll about the state tournament, "we came and did what
we had to do, nothing personal about it."
By Brian Coleman
"Seventy-nine minutes of flawless
soccer was not to be ruined by one minute of mistakes," said George Mason
assistant soccer coach Frank Spinello to his charges during the break between
regulation and overtime in George Mason’s state final game last Saturday
This turned out to be true as with
three minutes left in the third overtime, Mason’s Ben Griffin was not to
be denied as he broke through several James Monroe defenders to kick the
winning goal and give a 2-1 victory and another state championship to Mason.
The Mustangs came together beautifully
to wear down a confident James Monroe team that had torn through James
River 6-0 in the semifinals, but ran into a brick wall in the finals.The
game was evenly matched between two excellent teams, with the Mustangs
taking a 1-0 lead on Griffin’s first goal into the final minute of play
before a defensive breakdown resulted in a James Monroe goal to tie the
The first two overtimes involved
several big saves by Mustang goalkeeper Brian Coleman as well as by the
James Monroe goalie. Mason’s run-and-gun style in overtime made it possible
for Griffin to send the Mustang crowd home happy with a sweep of the Virginia
Group A Soccer Championships.
But this game was by no means a one-man
show. The defense, led by Bubba Olson, limited the choices of James Monroe’s
talented forwards. Stopper Peter Dittmar held his own in the middle, with
outside backs Justin Barrow and Andreas Toom keeping Monroe’s speedy forwards
from getting too many chances.
The midfield was held down by strong
performances by Erik Toom who marked Monroe’s best player, and Grant Sabatier
who played solid defense.
Pablo Diaz was able to make several
crucial defensive stops on the left side, while Colin Nannery fought through
an injury to play brilliant soccer on the right side. Exhaustion eventually
overcame Nannery and Joel Wray subbed for him. Wray was a key player on
the first goal and played solid defense in overtime. As usual, Grifin was
able to step up in the clutch situation with contributions from Chris Sabbatini
and freshman Ariel Toom.
The chance to play in the finals
was made possible the night before by a dominating performance by the Mustangs
who beat previously unbeaten Radford in fronts of a hostile crowd. Griffin
scored once on a penalty kick, with junior Sabbatini kicking in the other
goal. Coleman turned in another shutout in goal, with Erik Toom shutting
down Radford’s top scoring threat.