LAKEWOOD — Getting early pressure on the opposition has been something the Chatfield Chargers have been looking for. And against Jeffco League foe Pomona in their conference opener Sept. 20 at Lakewood Memorial Field it proved to be vital.
Not to worry, the Chargers scored twice in the game’s opening 13 minutes, including Lee Holmes’ tally that proved to be the eventual game-winner, as Chatfield bounced back from its lone loss of the season with a 3-1 victory over the Panthers.
“It was a blue-collar effort from us tonight. Starting off fast has been something we’ve been trying to do,” Chatfield head coach Brock Blume said.
It certainly helped considering Chargers goalkeeper Steven Seagraves was going to be staring into the sunset in the second half. But the way Chatfield’s defense played in front of him over the final 40 minutes made that point a moot one. Seagraves faced just four shots the entire game — none in the second half — as Chatfield improved to 6-1-1.
Seagraves credited his defense’s bottled-up play in the second half for keeping the Chatfield goal shot-free.
“They were just trying to mark up, play tight defense,” Seagraves said. “(Pomona) had a lot of people they were bringing up since they were down the whole half.”
Even still, it hardly mattered.
Chatfield put the game on ice when AJ Gulaid booted home a penalty-kick goal over the outstretched arms of Pomona keeper Matt Taylor in the 72nd minute.
“It was a nice cushion with just a little time left to get up two,” said senior attacker Jordy Reiss, who headed in the game’s opening goal in the fourth minute off a corner kick. “It just kind of slowed (things) down knowing that if we gave up a goal we still had a one-goal cushion.”
Pomona (3-3-1, 0-2) tied the game four minutes after Reiss’ goal on an Aaron Varela tally. But that was one of only a few opportunities the Panthers got at Seagraves.
The penalty kick was huge not just toward the outcome, but to the Chargers’ psyche. After all, Chatfield missed an opportunity in its lone defeat — a 2-0 setback to Legend a week earlier. Gulaid made sure that wouldn’t happen again.
“It’s a situation where we have to redeem ourselves, have to recommit to being focused on the situation,” Blume said.
The same could be said about this season as a whole. Last year, Chatfield won just three times. The Chargers have already doubled that win total this season.
“We had a bad year last year. We just want to get back into a Chatfield groove,” Seagraves said.