One week ago, the men’s soccer team lost 2-1 to California Lutheran University, and with it, likely lost a chance at a home playoff game. On Nov. 1, Chapman traveled back to Cal Lutheran in the first round of the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference (SCIAC) playoffs. This time, the 3-1 loss ended Chapman’s season.
Against the top three other teams in the SCIAC this season (University of Redlands, Cal Lutheran, Pomona-Pitzer), Chapman lost five games and drew one. Because the conference schedule was shortened by two games this season, Chapman only played first-place Redlands – which it lost to in the conference final last season – once this season, in an away loss.
“That’s something that’s always going to irk me, never having beaten them at their place, which is where the final (is),” said senior midfielder Zev Gollis. “We would have liked to come out as champions and have another run at the (NCAA) tournament. It didn’t work out that way. That’s disappointing, but I don’t really regret anything that’s happened over the course of the season.”
After being scored on in the 14th minute Nov. 1, junior forward Kai Howe tied up the game for Chapman less than two minutes later. The game remained tied until Cal Lutheran scored a header off a corner with 15 minutes to go.
Chapman responded by pressing up the field to try and tie the game, but the pressure left Chapman’s defense shorthanded, leading to Cal Lutheran’s third goal.
“The last goal – we pressed hard, we were attacking, trying to get an equalizer and we gave up a third goal,” said head coach Eddie Carrillo. “Usually, if you don’t get the second goal, you give up the third goal. That’s usually the way it works.”
Carrillo said that despite the loss, the season was a success.
“We accomplished all of our goals,” Carrillo said. “We wanted to get back into the SCIAC tournament and we did that. We lost in it last year, so to be right there with the top teams, it was an accomplishment for our guys.”
Gollis said he was disappointed to have never won a conference championship in his time on the team.
“We never got the SCIAC championship,” Gollis said. “That was our goal.”
Gollis only played 15 minutes at the start of the game before being taken out with a foot injury that has bothered him since the team’s Oct. 25 game against Cal Lutheran.
“I tried to give it a go,” he said. “I always want to be out there for the team, especially in the playoffs in my senior year, but unfortunately, it got to a point where I just realized I was going to be hurting the team if I was on the field.”
Gollis was one of a number of Chapman players out. Carrillo said senior defender Lorenzo Belassen had a second-degree MCL sprain, sophomore midfielder Ryan Onart, sophomore defender Rhey Gill and freshman midfielder Nick Gilida were all out with unspecified injuries, while sophomore midfielder Justo Garcia was suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.
Gollis commended the performance of the bench players who stepped in, but said the injuries were frustrating.
“You always want to field your best team out there and I feel like if we had all our guys that were injured, I think we probably would have won this game,” Gollis said. “But you can’t knock the guys who came in to replace them. It’s tough to go a large part of the season with minimal minutes and step into the biggest game of the year and they did that.”
Gollis said he’ll miss the bond he built with other players over the course of his four-year career at Chapman.
“I’m going to miss a lot of things,” Gollis said. “Being with guys on and off the field, all hours of the day, that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”