The Chatfield boys lacrosse team burst onto the scene a year ago.
As a first-year program, the Chargers immediately thrust themselves into elite company, knocking off rival Columbine and reaching the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
This year, expectations around the program remain high, despite losing a few senior leaders. While players like Max Erickson are gone, Greg Kelsic, Nick Nedeau, Mitch Erickson and James Sharp are all back, giving the Chargers plenty of options in the midfield and on the attack.
“We’re excited about this season,” Kelsic said. “Our expectations are high; we want to definitely make the playoffs and get back to the quarterfinals, and, hopefully go further than that.”
Against Evergreen on March 11, the Chargers made easy work of the Cougars, winning 12-2 at Trailblazer Stadium.
While the game was one-sided from the beginning, the Chargers didn’t play a perfect game. After scoring five goals in the opening five minutes the Chatfield offense cooled, scoring just three goals over the next two-and-a-half quarters.
“I think we relaxed a little bit,” said Kelsic, who had a goal and five assists. “We need to stay aggressive no matter what the score is.”
Evergreen, to its credit, didn’t quit despite being out-matched. The Cougars worked hard for their two goals, the first coming with seven minutes to play in the opening half as Roe Fletcher netted an unassisted goal.
Fletcher’s goal made the score 6-1, and that was the mark as the teams entered halftime. In the third quarter, Chatfield fired off 11 shots but only scored on two, both by Dean LaVecchia, as the Chargers pushed their lead to 8-1.
In the fourth quarter, Chatfield found its rhythm offensively as Kelsic and Nedeau scored in the opening two minutes. Zach Kammerzell and Mitch Erickson closed out the scoring for Chatfield, which Evergreen’s Evan Dreggors netted the game’s final goal in the final two minutes.
Evergreen goalie Matt Hoff faced a constant barrage of shots and handled the fire well, stopping 13 shots.
“There’s some things we still need to work on,” said Chatfield coach Reg Weber, whose team fell to 3-1 on the season following a 6-4 loss to Mountain Vista on March 14. “We had a few too many turnovers and missed passes. I think the thing for us is finding guys to step up and be leaders on this team. We only have three seniors on this team; most of the kids are juniors and sophomores.”
Nedeau is one of those players Weber hopes takes on that leadership role. The junior attacker finished with three goals and three assists against Evergreen.
He scored twice in the first quarter as Chatfield had little trouble breaking through the Evergreen defense.
Kammerzell, Erickson and Trace Wollner each scored a goal and Kelsic finished the quarter with a pair of assists.
“The start of the game was really good for us,” Weber said. “We established a good rhythm to our attack and were aggressive right from the start.”
Goals-assists: Chatfield: Greg Kelsic 1-5, Mitch Erickson 3-0, Nick Nedeau 3-3, Zach Kammerzell 2-1, Dean LaVecchia 2-0, Trace Wollner 1-0, Eli Greenspan 0-1. Evergreen: Roe Fletcher 1-0, Evan Dreggors 1-0.
Saves: Chatfield: Connor Lewis 5. Evergreen: Matt Hoff 13.