Ea­gles push Spar­tans off pedestal


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY GABE HIATT gabe.hiatt@wash­post.com

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.

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