Eagles push Spartans off pedestal
MILLS GODWIN 2, BROAD RUN 0
One leery eye peered left from underneath the blue, waterlogged towel covering Broad Run senior Karim Zebdi’s head.
As he lined up to be recognized as a runner-up after the Virginia 5A boys’ soccer final Saturday at Robinson, the Spartans’ midfielder would not take a direct look at the Mills Godwin boys celebrating their 2-0 victory.
Defending state champion Broad Run outshot the Eagles, 20-13, but the intensity of the Spartans’ early efforts and the oppressive heat in Fairfax influenced a late collapse.
Mills Godwin junior Will Martin finished a header off senior Tommy Kinnick’s throwin in the 71st minute. Kinnick broke through Broad Run’s back line 34 seconds later and fired a low shot into the left corner of the net to push the winning margin and the number of state titles to two for the Richmond school.
“Honestly, it would have to be intensity of the game,” Zebdi said. “They wanted it more.”
Zebdi’s best shot on goal, a curving 31-yard free kick, was saved by Eagles senior Sam Wellman in the 58th minute.
As a key member of last year’s championship squad, Zebdi could look at this year’s accomplishment with context. Broad Run (14- 6-1) reconfigured its formation, subtracting one defender and adding an extra striker to suit a possessionbased attack.
“Last year we expected to win the championship,” Zebdi said. “This year we had to work for it.”
Through the course of the season, the Spartans generated one of the area’s most formidable offenses. Senior Abu Koroma — whom Coach John Hicks first noticed dominating indoor soccer as an eighthgrader wearing Chuck Taylors — scored 27 goals and was the All-Met Player of the Year.
Koroma scored twice in the semifinal, but on Saturday senior captain Sam Dracos and Mills Goodwin (18-4-1) were all over him.
If there was a silver lining for the Spartans, it was junior defender Junior Mensah.
The son of a former Ghanaian national team player earned his name as the smallest of three brothers, but he loomed large as a breakout player this season, earning a starting role and single-handedly preventing two first-half goals in the final.