RADFORD, Va. – It never gets old — just better.
George Mason captured its seventh consecutive girls’ soccer state championship Saturday, defeating Maggie Walker, 2-1, in the Virginia 2A final at Radford University. The Mustangs finished the season undefeated in 24 games, outscoring their opponents by a combined 190-8.
“They’re all such big accomplishments,” George Mason senior Claire Trevisan said. “I think people view it as a little feat, but it’s huge every time.”
As if to prove that point, the Mustangs began the match playing as though they were going for their state title, not their seventh. Richmond’s Maggie Walker (19-4-1) was on the attack early in the match, getting the game’s first shot on goal and holding George Mason without a shot of its own until the seventh minute.
The Green Dragons also had the first strong scoring opportunity in the 28th minute. Sabrina Daglish stole the ball near George Mason’s goal and had a clean look at the net, but defender Jessica Gemond managed to bother Daglish just enough to ruin the shot.
“We’ve had a long season, and our legs are definitely tired,” George Mason junior Ava Roth said. “We have a ton of girls that are playing travel [soccer] at the same time, with a bunch of tournaments. It was good that we kept our heads in the game and figured out how to score.”
Roth broke the scoreless tie in the 39th minute, taking a deflected ball and firing it into the right corner of the net. She celebrated with a cartwheel, and George Mason went into halftime feeling a whole lot better about the situation.
“That really helped us,” Trevisan said. “At halftime we were really amped, rather than feeling all the pressure. We got the second goal in the second half pretty quickly, and I think that’s because we were so hyped.”
The Mustangs’ second goal came less than four minutes into the second half. Trevisan received the ball off a corner kick and fed it to Roth, who was standing just in front of the left post. Roth sent it backward into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Roth said afterward that she had attempted several reverse shots this season, but Saturday’s was the first to go in.
“The second one I tried to be a little crafty because I had three people on me, so I did a behind-the-back” kick, Roth said. “I was definitely relieved after that one. I’m glad it finally worked this time.”
Daglish scored with 5 minutes 36 seconds remaining, pulling Maggie Walker within one. The score was identical to George Mason’s margin over Maggie Walker in the previous week’s 2A East region final — meaning the Green Dragons gave the Mustangs their two toughest matches of the season.
“They’re a more physical team than we’ve seen all this season,” George Mason coach Jennifer Mason said. “They do a really good job of traveling with the ball and putting pressure on you immediately. We tried to learn that from last Friday and did a better job of playing our own game today, rather than letting that rattle us.”