The Washington Post

Boys’ soccer: George Mason tops Galax to advance to Virginia A state final

The George Mason boys’ soccer team has what junior midfielder Sinan Kokuuslu calls the “Mason brand,” a style of play that the Mustangs displayed in full force Saturday afternoon in a 4-0 win over Galax in the Virginia A boys’ soccer semifinals in Salem, Va.

Four Mustangs scored, three had assists and 22 played in a game whose outcome was never seemed in doubt.

“We played our Mason brand,” Kokuuslu said. “Possession with a purpose and playing for each other.”

George Mason (20-3-1) will face Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg in the state final at 10 a.m. Sunday at Radford University in a rematch of the Region B championship that Stonewall won, 3-1.

Kokuuslu headed in a goal just more than two minutes into the game, off an assist from senior Henry Darmstadter. Junior Paul Darmstadter scored an unassisted goal about 15 minutes later.

“That was key for us, getting that first goal,” George Mason Coach Frank Spinello said. “We talked about it before the game, to come out and put pressure on them early and get a shot on goal in the first minute and let’s try to put something in the back of the net in the first five and it will make our jobs easier all night long.”

“Our getting one in early basically set the tone for the rest of the match,” Kokuuslu said, “and the result showed.”

That 2-0 score stood until the Mustangs tacked on two more goals in the final 10 minutes. Freshman Raheem Lawal scored off a Kokuuslu assist, and Henry Darmstadter scored off an assist from Cole Hinson a minute later. Hinson pressured the defense all game, freeing up his teammates.

George Mason senior goalkeeper Sebastian Umerez had six saves.

The Mustangs are eager for another shot at Stonewall. Spinello said his team cashed in on only one of its 12 “dangerous chances” in the region final while allowing three goals on Stonewall’s half-dozen opportunities.

George Mason won state titles in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2010.

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