Chargers slip past Rams

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Advance to quarterfinals

By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD — Alyssa Gillmore likes the chaos amid the rough stuff.

Bodies flying around the goal, players crashing into players and throwing their bodies in the way of danger? Gillmore says that just gives the game its proper tempo.

While some teams got an easier result in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs, the top-seeded Chargers got a white knuckle – and a little bare knuckle – match May 8 in their 1-0 victory over Jeffco rival Green Mountain at Lakewood Memorial Field.

“Green Mountain is always a tough team,” Gillmore said. “They’re one of those teams that no matter what you do, they come out and pressure you. They’re just nonstop – go, go, go.”

The Chargers (16-0-1) got a goal in the 35th minute from sophomore Kaitlyn Basset and the defense never flinched despite some desperate moments to advance to the state quarterfinals.

“It was a good test for us learning to control our nerves,” Gillmore said.

If the Chargers get past No. 9 Ponderosa (12-2-3) on May 12, they will face either No. 5 Heritage (15-1-1) or No. 4 Fairview (16-1-0) in the state semifinals Saturday at Englewood.

Against the Rams, the Chargers sustained their attack and played some great soccer, but the Rams were stout and determined defensively.

“The bottom line is our best soccer is when we have the ball,” Chargers coach Brock Blume said. “And when we have the ball we’re going to be trying to attack.”

Basset grabbed the vital goal off a free kick from defender Kelsi Latham. Latham bounced the ball into the penalty area and Basset gave it just the perfect nudge with her head to put it over the goalkeeper, under the crossbar and into the net.

“I feel like it was more like a team progressing and a good build up as a team,” said Basset, who registered Chatfield’s first shot on goal early in the game. “From there it was putting anything on it to get it in the goal.”

Body parts were in high demand in the second half when the Rams pressed for the equalizer. There were moments of chaos and blocks worthy of playoff hockey, such as Latham’s stop on Brooke Valbert with 17 minutes to play.

The Chargers narrowly missed a chance to double their lead when Claire Lelong sent a pass forward to Geneva Gray in the penalty area. Gray’s shot hit the left post and deflected across the front of the goal.