Girls’ soccer: George Mason claims fifth straight Va. A state title
By Greg Schimmel,
RADFORD, Va. — After they acknowledged the George Mason fans who had made the 260-mile trip to Radford University to witness their girls’ soccer team’s fifth straight state championship, Leah Roth and Nicole Philbin each did a cartwheel on their way back to the bench for the trophy celebration.
Even for the Mustangs’ only seniors, winning state titles doesn’t get old.
Roth scored twice, including the game-winner in the 27th minute, and George Mason beat Graham, 4-0, Saturday to win the Virginia A girls’ soccer championship for the fifth consecutive year.
“It’s kind of surreal,” George Mason Coach Jennifer Parsons said. “Almost our entire team is freshmen and sophomores and it was tough, but our returners did such a good job of making those underclassmen step up and fill in vital roles.”
George Mason (23-3) dominated possession Saturday and held a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal, and received an additional break when Graham junior goalkeeper Karly Morgan had to leave the game in the 17th minute with a left ankle injury.
Roth opened the scoring with a tough shot from the right side that the Graham backup goalkeeper got a piece of but couldn’t stop.
“I hit it to the left lower corner and I think the goalie tipped it,” Roth said. “In the first half the field was really slick, so if you hit it hard it was going to go in.”
The Mustangs only got stronger after halftime, and Rice scored from close range off of a rebound in the 43rd minute.
Ankuma added the third goal with a blast from inside the box after a through ball in the 57th minute, and Roth capped the scoring with a tough shot from the middle in the 74th minute.
“We just wanted to go out and attack,” Parsons said. “After the first 15 minutes was definitely a battle, we started to take over possession and finish our chances.”