By Owen Gotimer
Fairfax (June 15, 2015) – For the fifth time in school history, the Broad Run High School girls soccer team ended their season with a win as state champions. But their win over Stone Bridge High School at the 2015 VHSL 5A state championship in Fairfax on June 13 was more than just a win for the team and school: it was a win for No. 24.
“You always play to win for your team, but we played for a higher power this year,” Broad Run head coach Claire Collins said. “Madison would have been right there cheering on the girls: she was best friends with pretty much the entire team. She would be really proud today.”
Madison Small was a senior softball player at Broad Run who passed away on April 7 at the beginning of the spring sports season. The Spartans and LoCo community honored Madison throughout the spring season with #WEPlayFor24. While the Broad Run softball team’s season was cut short in a VHSL 5A North region quarterfinal, the girls soccer team continued to use their memories of Madison as motivation.
“Obviously, the beginning of this season was really hard. I’m just glad we were able to win that for her because she deserved it,” Broad Run senior Sara Deutsch said. “To be able finish for her is the best feeling. This state title means more to win for her than it does for myself.”
After Spartan sophomore Kara Kimberl got the scoring started in the 23rd-minute, Deutsch had her shining moment on the offensive side of the field when she put a pass from senior Steph Stahl into the back of the Stone Bridge net.
“The seniors wanted it so much because they lost it in the state final their freshmen year,” Collins said. “The whole year they’ve been battling, and this is an amazing feeling. This team is so special.”
Two themes continued to permeate the postgame interviews: playing for Madison Small and the Spartans loss in the 2012 state championship.
“It’s honestly so unreal. We made it here our freshmen year and lost the game which was the biggest disappointment,” Deutsch said. “This was just the best way to end my senior year: going out with a state title with the girls who have become like a family to me. There’s really nothing like it.”
While the state championship was the first for Deutsch and company, Collins has been at the helm of the Broad Run program for all five of the Spartans’ state titles. Only George Mason High School head coach Jennifer Parsons – who just won her eighth straight – has won more VHSL girls soccer state championships.
“It was an unbelievable win for us. The entire team played as a team,” Collins said. “I am so impressed with this team. I’m so proud of them. They did an awesome job, a total team effort.”
The Broad Run offense is touted as one of the best offenses in the state, yet a key component of the VHSL 5A state championship win was the Spartan backline.
Girls Soccer: Lady Spartans are your #VHSL5A state champs!! Broad Run 3, Stone Bridge 0 FINAL https://t.co/m19VhN1rEy
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) June 13, 2015
Defenders Emily Roche, Jessi Arens and Anna, Leah and Sara Deutsch had a major challenge in the state title match: defend Stone Bridge superstar freshman Amy Thompson.
“Our goal today was to double team Amy Thompson because she is such an unbelievable player, a threat, a game changer,” Collins said. “We always man marked her and had two people on her at all times.”
The challenge for Broad Run got much tougher in the fourth minute of the game when all-VHSL 5A North region defender and Division I Duquesne-commit Lexi Taylor exited with a leg injury.
“It was me and my sisters and Jessi and Emily,” Deutsch said. “We just stood strong and were able to shut them down.”
The LoCo family made a promise to honor Madison Small’s legacy this season, but that promise wasn’t the only one fulfilled with the Spartans’ state championship win.
Broad Run senior Caroline Kerns wrapped up her high school playing career with a single sentence: “We promised each other our freshmen year that we wouldn’t leave Broad Run without a state ring.”
23′ BR Kara Kimberl
35′ BR Sara Deutsch
74′ BR Emma Kerns