The Chapman men’s lacrosse team completed its perfect season April 16 when the Panthers traveled to rival University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and won 15-8.
“We have always taken each game one at a time so to take a look back on an undefeated season means that we came out each week and handled our business,” said junior attacker Regan Kelly. “Knowing that is an awesome feeling.”
While the seeding for the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference Championship has not officially come out yet, the win ensures that Chapman, who is ranked first overall in the division, will retain the No. 1 seed in the North region going into the tournament. That means that the Panthers have a first round bye and will play the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between No. 2 Santa Barbara (9-4, 4-1) and No. 3 University of Southern California (8-7, 3-2) in the North region, on either April 29 or April 30 at La Costa Canyon High School in Encinitas.
“Having a bye week is nice to rest the legs after a long regular season, but it’s never truly time off,” Kelly said. “One of our biggest things this year is putting in the extra work to get better and that’s what we will continue to do.”
In Saturday’s game, Chapman (16-0, 5-0) led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter and methodically built on that lead throughout, leading to a 15-8 victory.
“Wins against UCSB are always sweeter than the rest,” said senior defensive midfielder Alex Siegel. “The mentality was not too different going into this week’s game though. We knew it would come down to who came up with loose balls and who executed their game plan.”
Chapman hasn’t won a championship with this group of players despite making the playoffs every year, though Kelly thinks the team chemistry is why that will change this year.
“We realize it’s far from over,” he said. “Chapman lacrosse has always had talented players. The difference between this year and years past is the chemistry we as a team have on and off the field. Team chemistry is something that takes time to develop and this year it all just came together.”