The Chapman men’s lacrosse team had no problems in its first two Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) national tournament games, winning 14-2 against Purdue University May 9 then 16-8 against Arizona State University May 10 to advance to a third-consecutive national semifinal.
The Panthers (20-0, 7-0), who are the top seed in the tournament, are just two wins away from winning the MCLA Division I national championship and completing an undefeated season.
“For the first two games we wanted to come out and make a statement with how we played,” said sophomore attacker Dylan Garner. “We didn’t underestimate our opponents and came out ready to play a full game. We are all on the same page that our ultimate goal is a national championship, but we just have to take it one game at a time.”
In its first game of the tournament against Purdue (9-6, 5-1) Monday at the University of California, Irvine, Chapman did not give up a goal until the fourth quarter, while scoring 11 of its own in the first three quarters.
Garner led Chapman with six goals, and senior attacker Steve Koressel had two goals in his first game back after he and junior midfielder Brent Melbye were suspended for their arrests in connection with the theft of Tim the turkey from Orange High School.
Garner and Koressel led the Panthers once again on Tuesday against No. 10 Arizona State (8-7, 4-2), as Garner had five goals and three assists, while Koressel added two more goals of his own.
Chapman again had no issues with the Sun Devils, jumping out to a 7-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and seeing out the game easily.
The first two games of the tournament were played in Irvine, but now the tournament shifts to the Panthers’ home turf, Wilson Field, for the final two games.
“It will be very nice coming home to play the next game” Garner said. “Something our captain, (senior goalie Gus Gradinger), said during halftime of our last game was that we are playing to go home. It’s nice having our fans out at the games and it will be nice getting a group of people at the next game backing us up.”
The top four seeds in the tournament remain, with Chapman taking on No. 4 Georgia Institute of Technology May 12 at 4:30 p.m. and No. 2 Cal Poly taking on No. 3 Grand Canyon University the same day at 7:15 p.m. The two winners will advance to the finals, which will take place May 14 at 2:30 p.m.