LAKEWOOD — It was the best of games; it was the worst of games.
But in a tale of two girls lacrosse teams, the Chatfield Chargers and the Evergreen Cougars who faced off at Trailblazer Stadium on April 30, the hardest question to answer might have been ‘what the dickens were they playing for?’
Neither the 7-5 Chargers (4-3 Jefferson County League), nor the 1-11 Cougars (0-7 Jeffco League) had much to play for late in the season, so the game became more about preparing for next season, and just having fun.
“We were able to play some girls that don’t get a lot of playing time and switch around some players on the field,” Chargers coach Adam Everett said.
“We’ve just been focusing on having fun and bringing out the competitive spirit in (the players),” Cougars coach Alyssa Trudel said.
And, oh by the way, they did keep score in the game, a 15-6 Chargers victory that was slow to materialize, but never really “safe” until well into the second half, according to Everett.
“Lacrosse is a streaky sport, and we were telling the girls that a four-goal lead is not a comfortable lead in any game,” said Everett whose Chargers held only a 7-3 lead nearly five minutes into the second half. “It doesn’t matter who our opponent is, it’s always about ‘we’ve got to go out there and play hard.’
The Cougars’ Luisa LaSalle scored a goal, her first of three on the day, less than a minute into the game to give her team the early 1-0 lead.
Evergreen keeper Rachael Pickett stopped several Chargers shots over the next two minutes but was unable to corral the ball, and Chatfield’s Taylor Hayda finally broke through with a shot to tie the game.
The Cougars remained aggressive though, and set up in the Chatfield zone where Evergreen’s Lauren Jagels took a pass from teammate Taylor Blomquist behind the goal, and wrapped around with a shot that put her team back ahead 2-1.
Neither team scored for the next six minutes before Hayda took a pass from keeper Brooke Harper and ran the length of the field, tying the game for the Chargers at 2-2. The goal started a run of six goals over the next ten minutes for the Chargers, two each by Rachael O’Neill and Mandy Brown that gave Chatfield a 7-3 halftime lead.
The Chargers took a 10-4 lead, 11 minutes into the second half on a pair of goals by Ashley Sanders and another by Brown who sprinted the length of the field for her third of four goals in the game.
“(Coach Everett) wants us to settle it down,” Brown said. “But on those fast breaks you’ve just got to go for it.”
After Brown’s goal, both coaches began to empty their benches, inserting younger and less utilized players into the game.
Despite the loss, Evergreen’s bench was upbeat for the way competed in the game, and for the way they’ve improved over the course of the season.
“We’re still a really new team so we’re not expecting the big wins,” LaSalle said. “But I think we all went into this game more relaxed and ready to play.”