No. 3 Chatfield stays hot to begin defense of Jeffco League girls lacrosse title

Chatfield Wheat Ridge girls lacrosse

Chatfield junior Kendra Lanuza, left, tracks down Wheat Ridge senior Sydnie Kroneberger during Thursday's Jeffco League girls lacrosse opener for both teams. Lanuza tallied five goals in the Chargers' 19-3 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

LAKEWOOD -- A handful of premier girls lacrosse players from the Jeffco League were on display Thursday at Trailblazer Stadium.

Ranked No. 3 in the latest girl’s lacrosse poll and sporting a handful of future college players, Chatfield remained undefeated on the season with a 19-3 victory against conference rival Wheat Ridge. It was the league opener for the Chargers (5-0, 1-0 in league) and Farmers (2-4, 0-1).

Chatfield Wheat Ridge girls lacrosse

Chatfield freshman Tess Albert (11) advances the ball up the field against Wheat Ridge junior Jamie Nguyen during the first half Thursday. (Dennis Pleuss)

“It’s hard to rank our priorities, but league is definitely is probably my top priority,” Chatfield coach Adam Everett said of defending the conference title it won last year. “It’s my top priority to do well in the Jeffco League. It’s always a tough conference.”

The Chargers showed its offense depth early and often Thursday afternoon. Chatfield scored the first 11 goals against Wheat Ridge. Senior Shelby Piper led the way scoring four times in the first half, including three straight goals in a span of two minutes.

Piper finished with five goals and four assists. Junior Kendra Lanuza also pitched in five goals and senior Rachael Walker found the back of the net four times for the Chargers.

“We want everyone on the team to be a threat,” Chatfield senior defender Allie Sale said. “We want everyone to be able to handle the ball, all the defense can go in the attack and all the attack can go on defense. That is really important to us this year.”

Senior Tess Albert (three goals), sophomore Jen Lanuza (one goal) and junior Summer Stafford finished up the offensive barrage for Chatfield. Senior Emily McMinimee was solid in goal for the Chargers allowing just three goals.

“Our offense has been doing really well, but our defense has really come together,” Everett said. “Emily (McMinimee) has just been outstanding the past couple of games. We’ve got come experience back there on defense. Allie Sale really organizes everything. The chemistry is really there.”

Chatfield Wheat Ridge girls lacrosse

Wheat Ridge senior Gianna Ossello (16) has 164 career goals for the Farmers. She will take her talents to Duke University next school year. (Dennis Pleuss)

Chatfield had the task of trying to contain Wheat Ridge senior Gianna Ossello, who will play for Duke University next school year. Ossello has tallied 148 goals and 52 assists in her first three years as a Farmer.

Despite the efforts of Sale, one of her good friends, Chatfield couldn’t keep Ossello off the score sheet. The senior scored two goals and assisted on the third goal for the Farmers.

“My goal all four years is not to let Gianna get a point against us,” said Sale after she took photos with Ossello at the conclusion of the game. “She has gotten it every year.”

Ossello had 16 goals so far in her four games played this season for Wheat Ridge.

“She (Ossello) is an incredible player,” Everett said. “It’s been a privilege to have my teams play against her. She presents different challenges. I think we did a fairly good job against her.”

Junior Amanda Malecki picked up the goal off the assist from Ossello. Wheat Ridge scored the final two goals of the first half to break the shutout.

While losing to Chatfield was disappointing, Ossello hopes for the best for the Chargers for the remainder of the season.

“I’m definitely rooting for them,” Ossello said. “I’ve got a lot of really good friends on that team. They are well composed. They are good sports. I’m looking forward to seeing how far they go.”

Chatfield hopes to ride its balanced scoring attack and stingy defense where no Jeffco team has ventured. Jeffco has never won a state title in girls lacrosse.

“You can already feel the momentum we’ve already picked up,” Piper said. “Hopefully we’ll take it into playoffs and state. That is what our dream is.”

Chatfield Wheat Ridge girls lacrosse

Chatfield senior Rachael Walker (21) prepares to shoot a shot past Wheat Ridge senior goalie Jenna Yoches on Thursday. Walker scored four goals in the Chargers' 19-3 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)

Chatfield Wheat Ridge girls lacrosse

Chatfield junior Summer Stafford (2) closes in on Wheat Ridge junior Nora Ridgeway (9) during the first half Thursday at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood. The Chargers improved to 5-0 on the season with a dominating 19-3 victory. (Dennis Pleuss)