LAKEWOOD — Julia Lisella seemed to be infallible in goal. Robyn Thomas and Taylor Campman took advantage of Columbine’s stingy defense to generate offense, scoring three goals in 35.1 seconds. Everything seemingly was going the Lady Rebels’ way. And then it didn’t.
A youthful Chatfield team that began the season working its way up to the No. 4 ranking in the state proved it wasn’t a fluke with a second half that was as much about controlling the action as it was not giving Columbine much of a chance on April 30 at Trailblazer Stadium.
Ali Peper scored two of her team-high four goals and Rachael Walker had a hat trick in the game’s final 25 minutes as Chatfield, for the first time in five years, beat Columbine, 13-9. The win locked up the Jeffco League championship.
“I think it was just a matter of settling their nerves a little bit. They did a really good job, and they deserve a lot of credit for how they played in the second half,” Chatfield Senior head coach Adam Everett said. “You have to give it up to Columbine. They played an excellent game out there. We just tried to start playing our game and get our nerve back and start putting (the ball) in the back of the net.”
It was the complete opposite of the first half, especially late, as Columbine scored the final four goals to lead 7-3 at the intermission. Three of those goals — two by Thomas and another from Campman — came in the closing minute. The momentum seemingly had shifted in Columbine’s favor, but the Lady Chargers say they weren’t too concerned, Peper said.
“Not really. I think we knew we could step it up and play better than we were. They definitely had come out and shocked us a little bit. In the second half, we knew we were better than the team we were putting on the field,” she said. “In the second half, we stepped it up, and we wanted this win.”
Jessa Arne added her own hat trick, Shelby Piper scored twice, and Kendra Lanuza also got into the act for Chatfield (12-3 overall, 7-0 Jeffco League).
“We stayed positive through it all. That’s the way to do it. Pick your team up, stay positive and keep it going,” Arne said.
It certainly didn’t hurt that Chatfield inserted Summer Stafford to take the draws, helping the Lady Chargers control most of the action in the second half.
While Chatfield was on a roll in the second half, Columbine certainly had been feeling positive early on. The Lady Rebels (10-5, 6-1) had won seven of eight and took the lead early on a Becca Miller goal. As a matter of fact, Columbine didn’t trail until Arne and Walker scored back-to-back goals 34 seconds apart as Miller served a two-minute penalty midway through the second half.
“They came out hard. It’s something we’ve been working on,” Columbine head coach Shannon Weakland said. “Usually we’re a second-half team. We’ve really been working on going out hard, playing hard from beginning to end.
“We came out hard, but we just did not finish that way. We lost it in the second half.”
Thomas finished with four goals, Miller had two, and Nichole Beaton, Maggie Burns and Campman also scored for Columbine.
“I think we really showed what our team is capable of and that we are worthy of league champs,” Thomas said. “This will just drive us to do better in the future.”
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.