George Mason University

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Women’s soccer hosts VCU Sunday in A-10 tournament

October 25, 2017   /   by Damian Cristodero

Kaila Williams. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

One of the most important messages Todd Bramble, George Mason University’s women’s soccer coach, will send to his players this week is not to look too far ahead.

Stay in the moment, whether it is in practice or in class, he will say, and do not get caught up in the hype and excitement about Sunday’s playoff game against Virginia Commonwealth University.

A tough task, Bramble admitted, but absolutely necessary.

“I don’t even want them thinking about the game,” he said. “I want them to save up all that energy, stay relaxed, keep doing what they’re doing and that will give us the best chance to win.”

The game, at 1 p.m. at George Mason Stadium, starts the Atlantic 10 Tournament and features the third-seeded Patriots against sixth-seeded VCU. Eight of the conference’s 14 teams qualified for the tournament. The winner gets a spot in the 64-team NCAA championship.

George Mason students can get in free Sunday with their Mason ID, and can get a free hot dog, bag of chips and a soda to boot. Otherwise, tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for faculty, staff, children under 13 and senior citizens. Tickets go on sale one hour before the game. All sales are cash only.

Mason finished the regular season with a 9-8-2 overall record, and was 6-2-2 in the Atlantic 10, its best conference mark in Bramble’s three seasons.

“We’re pretty balanced overall,” he said. “It’s more a blue collar type of team. We’re not built around any superstars. It truly is a team effort.”

“As soon as the whistle blows, we’re going to be flying,” senior midfielder Kaila Williams said. “We want to make sure VCU feels the pressure early.”

For Williams, a kinesiology major in her third year as player-voted captain, it is not unusual to wake up in the morning with the game as her first thought.

Then Bramble’s message kicks in, “and I just have to put [the game] in the back of my head,” she said. “I have school, I have soccer, I kind of focus on whatever I have for that day. You have to learn to turn it off. That way you’re not draining all your energy for Sunday.”

Mason has some advantages heading into the game. It is the only Atlantic 10 team to advance to the tournament semifinals the past two seasons, so that experience should be helpful, Bramble said.

The team also beat VCU 1-0 during the regular season.

“It was an exciting game. It was up and down the field,” Bramble said. “It was fast-paced, a lot of action in the penalty areas. The fans will be in for a treat Sunday.”