COMMERCE CITY — Recently, more questions than answers had surrounded the Chatfield girls soccer program.
Despite annually having some of the most talented teams in the state, the Chargers were always snake-bitten come playoff time.
Since 2004, the last time the Chargers won a state title, they had advanced past the state quarterfinals just once. For just about any other program, that would be reason to celebrate.
For Chatfield, it was head-scratching.
Coach Brock Blume had been through enough heartache in his first four years on the job. In 2009, he sought to change the squad’s fortunes.
On the surface, the 2009 team resembled those of recent history. The Chargers were loaded with talent (seven girls signed with colleges just before the start of the season) and expectations.
This team, though, didn’t wilt under the penetrating glow of the spotlight.
With a stonewall keeper in Alyssa Gillmore and fierce defensive play, Chatfield routinely pounded its opponents into submission.
Gillmore allowed just four goals all season and the top-seeded Chargers marched through the 2009 postseason without allowing a goal — including their 1-0 victory over Air Academy in the championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“It took four years to build this team, to put together a recipe that would be the most effective,” Blume said. “The fact is that this group has the work rate with the talent. This group was never afraid to work. You saw that (May 20), they had to work against a very resilient Air Academy squad.
“We found a goal late and that was the difference.”
While the Chargers (19-0-1) certainly had plenty of firepower on their roster, they made a clear decision to ride the play of their defense and Gillmore.
Against Air Academy, Gillmore was rarely tested but did a great job of cutting off any signs of danger when the ball made it her way.
Offensively the Chargers dominated the first half, had a couple of good looks, but were unable to score. The team didn’t panic and knew that if they stuck to the gameplan, a goal would come.
In the 58th minute, the goal came.
Geneva Gray cut a beautiful pass upfield to a streaking Callie Hancock, who ran under the ball, settled it and buried a shot to the low right corner, giving the Chargers the always-precious first goal.
Gillmore and the defense made the goal stand and when the buzzer sounded to end the game, the team celebrated briefly on the field, then made their way into the stands to enjoy the moment with classmates and family that were in attendance.
“It feels great,” Blume said. “With a group like this, it’s carpe diem. This group, they are all going across the country to play soccer (in college) and it was their time to bring it all together and play because it’s going to be different after this
“This was the year to get it done.”