Head coach Eddie Carrillo said last weekend that he needed to assess the depth of his roster. By suspending his two assistant coaches and six players for a violation of team rules, he got that opportunity.
The assistant coaches – Robert Viviano and Alex Masias – and the players, all of whom are seniors – were suspended from Chapman’s first home and conference game against Pomona-Pitzer, as well as the next two games.
“They just violated team rules,” Carrillo said. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve got rules and people have got to follow the rules and if you don’t follow the rules, then you’re going to suffer the consequences, and they fully understand that.”
Carrillo did not specify what team rules were violated, but the suspensions meant that Chapman fielded a starting lineup against Pomona-Pitzer Sept. 6 that included just one senior, midfielder Elliott Braund. The remaining unsuspended senior, Grant Fremmerlid, was out with an injury.
Despite being without seven players and suffering two injuries during the game, Chapman’s 32-man roster proved itself to have enough depth to finish out its second consecutive 1-1, double-overtime draw.
The suspended players include goalkeepers Sean Augustine and Matt Deemer, defenders Kannon Kuhn and Lorenzo Belassen, midfielder Zev Gollis and forward Niko Arellanes.
With those players suspended, Chapman will have to rely on a mainly underclassmen core for the next two games, something sophomore midfielder Ryan Onart said will affect the team’s confidence.
“(The suspended players are) a pivotal part of that team, just because they bring a lot of maturity and leadership,” Onart said. “We are definitely a lot more confident with them back there, especially with Sean (Augustine) and our captains. We’re missing all of our captains right now.”
Freshman goalkeeper Gianluca Torgerson, sophomore defender Rhey Gill and Onart highlighted the strength of Chapman’s underclassmen during the game.
Torgerson made a fingertip save in the first half on a free kick that was bound for the upper corner of Chapman’s net, while Gill and Onart connected on Chapman’s lone goal, featuring a nearly full-field run and cross from Gill that was met with a backheel goal by Onart, who is no stranger to stylish goals after being featured last season on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays for a bicycle kick goal against Whittier College.
“It was honestly instinctive,” Onart said. “You try that stuff in practice and it goes well sometimes, but you look like an idiot if it doesn’t go in.”
Chapman finished out the first half tied 0-0, with a few good chances on goal, including a curled shot from sophomore midfielder Max Wilson that clipped the top of the crossbar. Chapman fell behind just 17 seconds into the second half, as sophomore forward Aidan Ferrer opened the scoring for Pomona-Pitzer.
“We went to a different formation,” Carrillo said. “It didn’t really help us with the pressure, and I think we had maybe so many people there that we didn’t know who was going to be the one going to pressure the ball. So (it was) very surprising that we gave up such a quick goal when we had just discussed what the things were that were working well for us.”
Onart and Gill teamed up to respond with a goal less than two minutes later, though Gill – playing in his first conference game for Chapman – was not pleased with the result.
“It felt good, but as a whole, we’re not super happy about it,” Gill said. “We know we could’ve done a lot better. But we’re looking forward to the next game, that’s behind us right now.”
Follow The Panther as we continue reporting on the team’s suspensions.