‘Fours’ to be reckoned with

As fifth-ranked Broad Run pursued its fourth straight Virginia AA girls’ soccer title this season, the Spartans kept seeing the number four pop up all over the place.

One player told her coach about seeing a car with license plates filled with 4’s. On Friday, All-Met Player of the Year Whitney Church and her teammates kept coming across mentions of four-leaf clovers as they flipped through books.

Four of the team’s seven seniors had been with the varsity for four years. The Spartans’ slogan this spring was, appropriately, “We’re coming back four more.”

On Saturday, the Spartans notched a 1-0 win over Blacksburg to join George Mason as the first schools to win four straight girls’ soccer state titles. The Mustangs claimed their championship just moments before Broad Run did on an adjacent field at Radford University.

“It’s really weird,” All-Met senior midfielder Ellie Zoepfl said. Coach Claire Collins “is always like, ‘It’s signs.’ But at first, we’re like, ‘That’s crazy, that’s crazy.’ But everything ends up being four. … It’s unbelievable that it’s over but this is a great accomplishment.”

Blacksburg (20-4), the Region IV champion, proved to be a physical opponent for the Spartans (24-1).

Midway through the first half, sophomore forward Cassie Smith countered a Bruins attack by crossing the ball from the right wing to junior defender Erin Brady, who headed it home for the only goal of the game.

From then on, though there were good scoring chances for both sides, the game turned in a possession battle, which the Spartans controlled and won.

After Saturday’s championship game, someone called for four ice bags for the ride back to Ashburn. Players posed at midfield, forming a giant number four, for family photos. The win was, of course, Broad Run’s 24th win of the season.

The game started around 12:45 p.m. but ended just after 4 p.m., thanks to a near 75-minute lightning and rain delay early in the first half – an eerie reminder to the Broad Run players that this was supposed to end this way.

“Everything happens for a reason in our program,” said Collins, whose program will move up to the AAA classification next season. “I don’t know if that’s just luck or what we established. It’s crazy but it’s fun.”

Broad Run Blacksburg
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James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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