LAKEWOOD — The Chatfield Chargers certainly didn’t play to the crowd Wednesday, April 23.
But they did put on quite a show.
On a night when the stands at Lakewood Memorial Field were full of Columbine administrators, alumni and students gathered to see iconic soccer coach Peter Horvath in one last derby match, the Chargers closed an era with a five-star finale.
Chatfield swarmed and shot with abandon and scored three late goals for an emphatic 5-0 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory over their rivals.
It was a vital rebound for a Chatfield squad still smarting from a nonleague loss to Cherry Creek while always wary of the battle the Rebels (4-4-1 Jeffco, 6-7-1 overall) bring to the pitch.
But the bigger picture was Horvath, who has taught and coached at Columbine for more than a quarter century.
Horvath had to smile on two occasions, as thanks were read to him on the public address system, including a quick salute from former player and 1999 graduate Kerri Weaver.
There was also a relaxed smile on his face after the final whistle. It seemed that for once, a lopsided loss didn’t mean that much.
“I was looking forward to it,” Horvath said of the game.
So were the Chargers.
Chatfield peppered Columbine goalkeeper Kalli Parmley with a slew of shots, forcing 10 saves before defender A.J. McNeely finally slipped the ball into the net in the 33rd minute on a 40-yard free kick.
Freshman Geneva Gray doubled the advantage three minutes into the second half before the Chargers finally wore the Rebels down and hit three late goals in the space of six minutes.
“I think most of it was the game on Saturday (1-0 loss) against Cherry Creek,” junior midfielder Stephanie Rowe said. “We needed to really come back from that. We played well but we didn’t come out with a win and that was our first loss of the season. I think we just needed to show ourselves.”
Lauren Bratschun started the late show with a goal in the 71st minute on a pass by Chelsea Mangold. Mangold set up Kaitlyn Basset four minutes later to make it 4-0, and Anna Lowe capped a nifty move on the left side with a drive to the far post to make it 5-0.
“Those shots opened up more opportunities,” Chargers coach Brock Blume said of Chatfield’s early surge.
Parmley finished with a stunning 15 saves and was saved by her crossbar twice in the first half.
“She did well. She kept us in it,” Horvath said of Parmley.
The Rebels produced three shots on goal.
“Chatfield is at a different level than where we’re at right now,” Horvath added. “They’re where we were several years ago.”
Goals: C.J. McNeely (free kick), 33rd minute; Geneva Gray, 43rd; Lauren Bratschun (Chelsea Mangold), 71st; Kaitlyn Basset (Mangold) , 75th; Anna Lowe, 77th.