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Chargers struggle to put away pesky Bears

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD — The Chatfield Chargers got the end result they expected March 18 against Bear Creek. It just didn’t go the way they expected.

Rather than maul the Bears as has been their custom, the Chargers found themselves breathing a sigh of relief as the final whistle blew on a 1-0 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory at Lakewood Memorial Field.

Sophomore Geneva Gray scored in the 15th minute but the goals never started flowing. Instead, the Chargers (1-0-0 Jeffco, 5-0-0 overall) found themselves mired in a battle with a determined den of Bears (0-2-0, 2-3-1).

“Coming off a victory (March 16) against Cherry Creek and then coming in and playing a hard working, blue-collar team like Bear Creek is a recipe for disaster,” Chargers coach Brock Blume said.

Disaster was avoided thanks to some good defending and four saves by All-Colorado goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore.

“We just weren’t playing our game,” said Gillmore, who thought a lack of quick passing was to blame. “We just can’t let teams hang around in games like that. But it’s something that we learn off of.”

It was a lot like Chatfield’s 5-1 nonleague victory over Fort Collins early in the season. The Chargers worked hard but didn’t have much to show for it in the first half, only to erupt in the second half and bury the opposition.

The script appeared the same against Bear Creek, as the Chargers pushed and pushed before breaking through.

Forward Callie Hancock sparked the goal with a nice run down the right side and curling shot that the goalkeeper could only palm away. The loose ball fell right to Gray on the left side and she rifled it home.

Gray’s goal seemed like the first step of Chatfield’s dominance as the Chargers had been lurking several times with four to five bodies in the penalty area and the Bears struggling to clear.

Kelly McGrath, Chelsea Mangold and Jamie Kadera each came close on a set piece in the 28th minute, while senior Stephanie Rowe ripped a free kick off the crossbar in the 38th.

Chatfield opened the second half with quick and purposeful passing, but that changed quickly.

The Bears nearly equalized when a free kick found Hannah Kimball alone on the far post. The senior forward didn’t connect cleanly and Gillmore pounced.

Bear Creek grew with confidence as the second half progressed, while the Chargers showed some tentative moments after Gillmore had to push a free kick over the crossbar in the 48th minute.

Chatfield was the more dangerous team, but the Chargers were held at bay by a very spirited Bears defense.