LAKEWOOD — Greg Kelsic said he and his Chatfield lacrosse teammates were expecting a physical encounter with rival Columbine.
The Rebels certainly supplied the physicality, and the rival Chargers were more than happy to return the favor.
Play on both sides of the field at times more resembled football than lacrosse. Penalty flags littered the synthetic turf field at Trailblazer Stadium on numerous occasions.
In the end, the Chargers’ stout defensive effort in the fourth quarter was the difference, lifting the Chargers to an 8-6 victory over a very competitive Rebels squad.
“Columbine really brought it,” said Kelsic, who scored three goals to go along with two assists. “We knew because of the rivalry between Chatfield and Columbine it was going to be a physical game; we were ready for it.”
Chatfield never trailed in the contest but could never create true separation from Columbine. Each time the Chargers would go up by two or three goals, the Rebels would right there with an answer.
Columbine was efficient in its extra-man attack, netting a pair of power-play goals, the second by Taylor Wells in the second quarter that made the score 4-3 in favor of Chatfield.
Mitch Erickson and Nick Nedeau pushed the Chargers’ lead to 6-3 and the Chargers entered halftime up 6-4.
In the third quarter, Kelsic scored his second and third goals of the game, the final tally off a Nedeau assist that increased the Chatfield lead to 8-5. It was the final goal the Chargers would score in the contest as the Rebels’ defense, led by goalie Sam Stimson (10 saves), did a sound job of keeping the Chatfield attackers at bay.
Rhys Harrison’s goal 18 seconds into the fourth quarter drew the Rebels within two goals, but they would get no closer.
Just as Columbine’s defense tightened, so did Chatfield’s, which forced the Rebels to shoot from the perimeter.
“I can see the ball really well when the shots are coming from that far away,” said Chatfield goalie, Connor Lewis, who finished with nine saves. “I thought we did a great job of forcing (Columbine) to shoot from the outside.”
Columbine also hurt its chances at a comeback by turning the ball over several times in the closing minutes.
In just its second year of varsity play, the Chargers already hold two victories over their biggest rival.
“It feels so good,” Lewis said. “This is the game you always want to win.”
Goals-assists: Chatfield: Greg Kelsic 3-2, Nick Nedeau 1-1, Zach Kammerzell 1-1, Mitch Erickson 2-2, James Sharp 1-0. Columbine: Rhys Harrison 2-1, Aaron Franks 0-1, Joe Sherman 1-1, Taylor Wells 1-1, Peter Lomba 1-0, Beau Cramer 1-1, Josh Gregg 0-1. Saves: Chatfield: Connor Lewis 9. Columbine: Sam Stimson 10.