Huskies Guard the Kennel, Shut Mason Out 5-0


By Breanna Shiflett

Although the night was cold and the wind a bitter enemy, there was an unyielding fire in the hearts of the girls on Tuscarora’s varsity soccer team as they trounced the George Mason Mustangs 5-0 on Tuesday night, March 19th. They protected their home turf like true watchdogs, guarding their goal and preventing their opponent from finishing a single shot the entire game.

Throughout the majority of the game, the Huskies kept the ball on their opponent’s side of the field and were on the offensive right from the get-go. It was not long after the start of the first half that the primitive goal was scored by senior forward Annie Hartman, who was assisted by sophomore midfielder Madison Phaneuf. After the first Tusky goal, the girls kept the shots coming at Mason’s goalie. Hartman sent the ball flying into the net once again, this time with the assistance of senior defender Cassidy McKenzie, and then helped sophomore midfielder Tess Williams score the third goal. The next goal allowed Hartman to achieve a hat-trick, or three goals by the same player in one game, which was more than just any accomplishment for her. “It felt really good because I haven’t scored the past couple of games,” Hartman said. “So it was a big relief.”

While the girls in white were able to keep the ball away from their net for most of the game, the Mustangs did have many good runs, especially in the second half. They were able to make quite a few shots on the goal, but none of them were too much for senior goalie Jackie McKenna to handle, as she was able to block each one with ease. Even though the game was coming closer to its end, the energy coming from the Huskies never diminished as they continued breaking towards their enemy’s goal. It was then that junior midfielder Abby Downey made what would be the final shot of the game, bringing the score up to a solid 5-0 and the girls’ record to 2-0-1.

Of course, adding another win to the record was an important aspect of the victory that night, but there was also a lot more that was accomplished during those 90 minutes. The girls were really able to connect as a team on the field, working together to finish their shots and move off the ball. “I think our passing was amazing and looked beautiful, says sophomore midfielder Colby Evans. “We also had a lot of shots—even the defenders took a bunch of shots, like [sophomore] Maja [Jankowska] and [Cassidy]”

Even after a successful game, though, the players are looking to the future and thinking about what they can do to improve, both personally and as a team. For Head Coach Nicole Brower, the game was a way to give the girls some different experience in certain positions. “We have a lot of girls that have played together before and know each other, but we are working on playing some girls in different positions,” Brower said. “So we’re looking to use games like this to work on that, to be stronger in those positions.” Hartman also believes that there’s room for improvement as a team, especially when it comes to heading the ball and finishing shots.

As for the rest of the season, the girls have high hopes for the team and have set extensive goals to allow for improvement. “Coming into the season, our goal is to definitely qualify for and make regionals,” said Coach Brower. “And coming into every game, we’re just trying to improve as a team and how we play and attack from the beginning of the season.” Hartman has a more specific goal for the team, hoping to beat both Woodgrove and County in order to be at the top of their district, while Evans has a specific personal goal: “I’d love to score at least three goals this season, so hopefully I can get there.” But for now, the team has another victory under their belt and will continue to protect the kennel from any predator who may try to step up to the challenge.