Broad Run wasn’t even supposed to be at Westfield playing in the Virginia AAA soccer tournament. By most guesses, the winner of the past four AA titles was supposed to be successful in its first season at this higher classification but not in the state championship game on a hot Saturday afternoon in June.
Yet, here the Spartans were. Their surprising run to a fifth straight title fell short in heart-breaking fashion, as Broad Run fell in penalty kicks, 3-1, after playing to a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime.
“It’s an awful way to win on PKs and it’s an awful way to lose,” Broad Run Coach Claire Collins said. “. . . We can’t hang our heads because we weren’t even supposed to be here. We weren’t even supposed to be out of the district.”
With one of the state’s toughest schedules, Broad Run (15-5-5) began its run to the final following an injury-filled regular season. As has been their pattern for the past five years, however, the Spartans produced their finest work in May and June. In 13 games in those two months, they lost only once. They knocked off then-unbeaten Forest Park, played stellar defense in one-goal games and won in penalty kicks.
Against Cosby (23-0-1), they did much of the same. While Broad Run’s offense couldn’t muster much, the Spartans’ defense held down their methodical opponent. In the 34th minute, after a Cosby corner kick and close-range shot, defender Chelsea Davis saved a would-be goal by kicking it away. Senior defender Erin Brady did the same in the 78th minute.
In penalty kicks, Broad Run made only one of its four attempts, the final one hitting the top crossbar and bouncing out. Cosby made three penalties, giving the Spartans a loss to finish a season for the first time in five years.
Goalie Haley Casanova threw down her gloves and pulled the neck of her shirt over her nose. Brady covered her eyes and senior Darbie Kelley held her hands over her head. Fighting back tears, senior forward Dani Dangremond offered a more positive reflection on the season.
“It’s always a good feeling to prove someone wrong,” she said. “And literally everyone doubted us. [We made] a statement for Broad Run, even though we’re in AAA now.”