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Wilbraham, MA -- After the game, as members of Spartan Nation quietly returned to their bus back to Groton, their driver, Athletic Director Kevin Potter, stopped to talk about the varsity girls' soccer team's heartbreaking 1-1 "loss" to Wilbraham & Monson Academy; a game that was decided -- after 110 minutes of tight, exciting play -- on penalty kicks.
"They had a fantastic season," said Potter, who mused about seeing the four Spartan seniors (Hannah Davis, Cailey Mastrangelo, Devan Taylor, Kristina Tower) beat WMA in the rain (2-1 on Nov. 16, 2011) during the New England playoffs their freshman year. "The girls have a lot to be proud of.
"They're a close knit group and it's just too bad it has to end that way."
Very few fans on the losing end of PKs would disagree with Mr. Potter -- especially if they had seen the heroics Spartan fans saw this afternoon. However, you can include girls' varsity soccer Head Coach Kim Bohlin Healy in that small number who would "prefer" a gut-rendering shootout loss.
Like everyone on the field in Wilbraham, Coach Bohlin Healy saw her club leave everything on the pitch Wednesday afternoon, and just a few moments after the emotional end of the 2014 soccer season she said, "I have never been more proud of a team."
The LA coach explained that if you had to lose, falling on PKs after coming back from a deficit, was the way to go down.
"What I said to the group afterward was all you can do as you walk off this field is to hold your head up high, because you played so hard."
Girls' soccer played hard all year, and finished with an impressive 10-5-2 record.
"It was the best record that we've had since I've been here," said Coach Bohlin Healy. "So, I think it was a really good combination of talent and heart and just the will to battle.
"And when you look at the four senior captains they came ready to play the same game they played four years ago and everyone followed their lead.
"Every single player on the field just felt that and felt the energy."