Chantilly sophomore Colin Zimmerman has perfected his go-to shot: the sneak-around-the-post, get-an-angle, dive-and-shoot move. Never mind that sometimes it’s tough to tell whether a trip or stumble forced him to shoot while headed turfward, or whether he meant to take that lateral angle — either way, Zimmerman has made it work all season.
Monday afternoon at Robinson, Zimmerman used the move three times: once to build a Chargers’ lead, again to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, and a third time in sudden-victory overtime to give No. 9 Chantilly a 12-11 victory over No. 10 Churchill in the Robinson Spring Break tournament in Fairfax.
“He’s had two pretty good seasons in a row,” Chantilly Coach Kevin Broderick said with a smile after the game. “Last year, we had some seniors on offense, our main guys. Now Zim has stepped up and become the main guy back there.”
Zimmerman said his decision to dive for the last goal was “a feel thing,” an attacker’s intuition that served him well on a five-goal afternoon on which “things were feeling good.”
“Things were kind of just working for me today,” Zimmerman said. “I felt pressure up top, so felt like rolling inside was the right thing to do. So I felt the pressure, then made the move to get around the pressure.”
Neither team’s pressure was particularly successful in slowing shots of any kind early on, as breezes and furious wind gusts in seemed to add a little extra to both team’s shots in a 15-goal first half that saw four lead changes.
Then in the second half, the winds seemed to shift, in particular stifling Chantilly (7-0) with the help of the Churchill defense, holding the Chargers (7-0) scoreless. But the Bulldogs (8-1) slowed, too, with each team’s scoring pace mirroring the other’s as neither side opened more than a two-goal lead all game.
“For whatever reason, both offenses just weren’t doing nearly as well in the second half,” Chantilly goalie Patrick Meehan said. “I don’t think it was anything our defense did or their defense did, I think it was just the natural tempo of the game.”
The game’s rhythm was punctuated again and again by Churchill’s Derek Altobello (three goals, three assists) and Louis Dubick (three goals, two assists), and dictated often by Bulldogs faceoff man Steven Stillwell, who Broderick said “dominated” Monday.
But as the wind blew back and forth through the Montgomery County-Fairfax County showdown, Zimmerman’s three leaps into the breeze — in particular the one that came two minutes into overtime — lifted the Chargers.
“Words cannot describe how proud I am,” Meehan said of Zimmerman. “He used the same move three times and was just a huge part of the offense during the game. He really put it away for us.”