By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- The Bull Run District champion George Mason Mustangs girls soccer team scored three goals in the first eight minutes and went on to dominate the Shenandoah District champion Central Falcons, 10-0, in their Region B semifinal contest on Wednesday.
Central had studied the game plan the Mustangs used to outshoot Stonewall Jackson, 37-0, in their 4-1 quarterfinal win over the Generals on Monday. Central did slightly better, with a 22-3 differential.
"I knew, from other coaches who had played them, what [George Mason] liked to do," Falcons coach Duff Rice said. "They like to push those defensive outsiders up, [especially] in the second half. So we had a game plan to help get ready for that. But they did it right off the bat [today]. Just too many people in the middle."
Mustangs sophomore forward Leah Roth scored a hat trick in the first half and added a fourth-goal feather after halftime.
George Mason junior Elle Silverman added a hat trick and junior Hannah Walker scored twice.
"On Monday [against Stonewall Jackson], we just had a lot of trouble finishing and got frustrated very easily," George Mason coach Jennifer Parsons said. "Stonewall Jackson had a great goalkeeper [Rhea Jett].
"We worked on some finishing yesterday in practice, and I think success that comes early in the game lets you use lose that frustration a little bit quicker. We've done pretty well dominating [opponents] this year, but I was glad to see them do a better job on finishing today."
After the opening kickoff went to the George Mason (14-5-1) half of the pitch, Central was unable to put the ball back over midfield until the ninth minute, when junior Theresa Barela dribbled down the right sideline and the Mustangs defended by kicking it over the end line.
Allyson Eye's corner kick was defended by the Mustangs.
Roth scored her first goal for George Mason in the second minute, a 15-foot drive from the right side. Roth's other first-half goals were a header in the 16th minute, with an assist from Karen Hamill, and an arcing line shot from the left side that hit the underside of the crossbar and went in during the 18th minute.
In the fourth minute, Falcons defender Lainey Eisen drew a yellow card and Elle Silverman's penalty kick cleared over the head of goalie Miranda Morris.
As the first half ended, George Mason had taken 16 shots on goal, scoring six times, while the Falcons managed only two shots on goal.
The second half opened more favorably for Central. George Mason didn't score again until 16 minutes had elapsed as Hamill launched a shot from just to right of the box that bounced off goalie Morris' body and was booted into the net by Katie Breen from the left side.
Eisen drew a red card in the 54th minute and had to leave the field.
The Mustangs' final goal came in the 74th minute and was salt on the Falcons' big wound as Morris scooped up Walker's 15-yard shot, but her effort caused her to roll over on her side and cross the goal line.
Central's only shot on goal of the second half came in the 77th minute, when Katie Bennett launched a shot off Erin Vasta's corner kick, but it was successfully defended.
"It was really, really disheartening, especially when they got up 3-0 in the first five to 10 minutes," Central sophomore co-captain Katie Philpott said. "We really did try to pick ourselves up after that. We improved a little bit as the game went on. They were just all over the field, running for open space and passing. We're used to having a little bit more time to control, then look, but with George Mason they were just on us immediately."
"Our first touch wasn't there," Rice said. "Our ball-clearing just wasn't there. They are a phenomenal team. They absolutely just passed it around us and just made us chase them.
"I knew if we could get the ball up -- with them playing that style -- we'd be able to, hopefully, counteract it. The mid-range passes just weren't there, and for us, that's not our strong point, so that's what we've gotta work on."
The Falcons finished the season at 9-9-1, a marked improvement over their single district win at the Group AA level last year, and have eight starters returning for the 2011 campaign.