George Mason Men’s Soccer falls short of the A-10 tournament.
BY CARSON ALGER, ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
The 2023 season concluded abruptly for the Mason Men’s soccer team, starting, and ending in a flash. The team was able to center their leadership roles around Graduate student midfielder Luis Maestre, Sophomore midfielder Asparuh Slavov, Junior forward Souley Diouf, Sophomore midfielder Nicholas Prioli and Graduate student goalkeeper Jaume Salvado.
The team endured ups and downs as they went 5-7-3 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play. They were able to record key wins over the University of Rhode Island and Duquesne University. As leader Maestre said, “…beating Rhode Island was my favorite game of the year since it shifted the dynamic of the season.” These wins in conference play gave the Patriots the spark they needed. This also created a chance for a playoff berth.
One of the impactful players on the Mason squad was Maestre. The 2023 season was Maestre’s one and only season here in the Mason uniform as he made it worth every second, as he tied Souley Diouf with five goals and a team-high nine assists. His team-high in assists was also 5th most in Division I Men’s soccer during the regular season.
Prior to Mason, Maestre spent two years at the Division II University of Charleston, West Virginia, where he was able to score four goals and seven assists. When asked about his time at the University of Charleston, Maestre said, “The difference of D1 and D2 wasn’t much of a difference but there were some games that it was a bit easier.” He also mentioned his time prior to the University of Charleston back in Spain, where, “You play against grown men, the pace is more tactical, more disciplined…compared to the U.S. it’s more athletically competitive and players don’t have experience playing with grown men.”
Although the mentioned struggles the team went through they were able to still exceed expectations as the Atlantic 10 preseason poll had them finishing 13th compared to the actual results of finishing 12th.
The team looks forward to growing and exceeding more expectations in the future as the head coach Rich Costanzo said, “[The] team has grown a lot, the team has been improving throughout the season, trending upwards lot, returning most of the team and a lot of the guys coming back with will allow the team to trend in the right direction.”