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Chatfield jumps on Conifer early, holds on for win

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By Brian Forbes

ARVADA — A visit from the University of Denver’s lacrosse team gave the Chatfield Chargers a little lift and more purpose coming into its game on April 11.

And that was a bad thing for Conifer.

The Chargers erupted early at the North Area Athletic Complex, burying eight goals inside 10 minutes to take a commanding lead that was eventually whittled down to a 13-9 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory.

Midfielder Ashley Sanders needed seven minutes to bag a hat trick, Taylor Hayda would add three more and attacker Mandy Brown finished with five goals and an assist to lead the Chargers (2-3 Jeffco, 5-4 overall).

Sanders credited a practice with the Pioneers for sparking the Chargers.

“During the first half we knew a lot about what to do,” Sanders said. “We were working on a lot of new things that really helped us. I think that’s what got us.”

Chatfield attacker Rachel O’Neill had a game-high three assists and Gabi Hildreth added two helpers. O’Neill also scored a goal.

But Chatfield’s glorious first half was almost reversed as the Lobos, who came in with a four-game winning streak, rode the strong goaltending of junior Holly Midcap and the attacking duo of Nicole White and Kelly Vaggalis mount a strong rally.

Midcap made 16 saves, including seven straight from the end of the first half into the second, as the Lobos (1-5-1, 4-5-1) clawed back from a 12-2 deficit.

White finished with a game-high seven goals and Vaggalis added two goals and one assist.

“We kind of came together and decided this is our game and to stop playing their game,” Midcap said of Conifer’s halftime pep talk. “We kind of got more into the spirit of the game. In the first half we came in thinking they were going to be so much better than us, and we kind of figured out they’re not.”

The Chargers certainly appeared to be in a class by themselves early on.

Sanders’ first shot of the game was saved by Midcap but she put the Chargers on the board 64 seconds in when she took a pass from O’Neill and snapped it home. She added her second 47 seconds later.

The Lobos would cut the deficit to 2-1 on White’s first goal, which came after a yellow card was issued to Chatfield’s Stephany Lipscomb. Then the Chargers started to roll in earnest.

The Brown and Hayda would each score twice, Sanders added another and Janae Smith scored on a pass from Hildreth as the Chargers were up 8-1 with 16:12 remaining in the first half.

O’Neill scored to put Chatfield up 11-2 late in the first half before Midcap became a wall.

Midcap would shut the Chargers out for the next 10 minutes, 13 seconds before Brown finally stabbed a ball past her to put Chatfield up 12-2.

The Lobos regrouped, the Chargers went to their bench and Conifer finished the game on a 9-1 run to make things interesting.

Chatfield 11-2—13

Conifer 2-7—9

Goals: Chatfield: Mandy Brown 5, Ashley Sanders 3, Taylor Hayda 3, Rachel O’Neill, Janae Smith; Conifer: Nicole White 7, Kelly Vaggalis 2. Assists: Chatfield: O’Neill 3, Gabi Hildreth 2, Brown, Hayda; Conifer: Vaggalis. Saves: Chatfield: Anna Stefanich 8.