Lady Chargers fend off Rampart with defense

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Kendra Lanuza scores five early goals before Chatfield holds on

By Michael Hicks

LAKEWOOD — It started out as another day at the office for Kendra Lanuza, but it was Chatfield’s defense that pulled the Lady Chargers through in a 14-12 second-round girls lacrosse state playoff victory over Rampart that was closer than expected.
Lanuza scored five first-half goals, Shelby Piper scored three of her five goals in the second half, and Rachael Walker added a hat trick for second-seeded Chatfield (16-0) on May 9 at Trailblazer Stadium.
Summer Stafford’s goal with 11 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the first half put the Lady Chargers ahead for good, but 15th-seeded Rampart (11-6) wouldn’t go away. The Lady Rams stayed within three goals throughout and actually got to within one with 18:10 remaining, but they couldn’t close the gap any further thanks to Chatfield’s defense.
The Lady Chargers, behind seven saves from goaltender Emily McMinimee, held Rampart at bay, despite the Lady Rams controlling the draw for most of the second half.
“Our team gives us the credit that we deserve at practice, after the games,” senior defensive captain Allie Sale said. “We spend a lot of time during practice working on our defense. This season, we haven’t been able to show it off quite as much due to high-scoring games in our league. This game was closer than we expected it to be, but it was definitely really good practice so when we’re going to be on defense the next couple of games.”
Chatfield advanced to the state quarterfinals on May 13 against seventh-seeded Denver East, a 15-9 winner over Palmer Ridge, in the second round.
Chatfield’s defense, thanks to the play of Kylie Yang, Kiera Stukey and Rachel Stephens among others was up to the task against Rampart despite five goals each for the Lady Rams’ Allie Popelar and Kelli Warmouth. Sam Smith and Lexi Alford scored a goal apiece. And though the game was too close for comfort it also served as a reminder that only the state’s best are still playing, Lanuza said.
“This lets us know that the competition is going to be hard and not to take any game lightly,” said Lanuza, who now has 93 goals on the season. “Every team in the playoffs deserves to be in the playoffs.”

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.