The Chapman men’s water polo team fell to the University of Redlands 17-7 in its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) home opener Oct. 15.
Head coach Eric Ploessel said the team’s defensive efforts needed to be better.
“We’ve been working on defense for the past two weeks, and we really didn’t show much there,” Ploessel said. “Seventeen goals are a lot to give up, and even by halftime, it was 10 and that’s a ton of goals. Our goalie, he’s good, and he got 17 blocks. That’s 34 shots that are on goal, and a good game should be under 20 shots on goal. Our defense really needs some work right now. That’s all we’ve been working on – that’s what’s been frustrating.”
Although the Panthers (2-10, 0-1) scored the first goal of the game, the Redlands Bulldogs (12-10, 1-0) flexed their scoring muscles and came back to control the rest of the game. By the end of the first half, the Bulldogs were leading 9-5. Despite the Panthers’ attempts to pull the game back level, Redlands outscored them in the second half.
Junior utility player Chris Garau said the loss was partly due to focus.
“The game didn’t go as we planned, but it means we need to focus,” Garau said. “If we start focusing, we could definitely have a good season.”
Despite the amount of goals allowed, the defense had some positives to take away from the game, according to Ploessel.
“We did a really good job of stopping their best player, but they’re deep,” Ploessel said. “They have a lot of guys that they could go to. If we’re stopping him (the best player), they have another guy, so we have to play better all-around defense.”
Although the defense was a weak point during the game, the team was able to get some points on the scoreboard. Sophomore two-meter defender Brady Hoskins buried two goals into the back of the net, but scoring wasn’t the only thing on his mind.
“We started to slip there toward the end, but we just needed to stick together as a team,” Hoskins said. “That’s what I was thinking about and unfortunately we couldn’t do that today.”
Ploessel said the loss would be tough to deal with, but that there are plenty of games left in the season.
“It’s only the first SCIAC game, so we have seven more to go,” Ploessel said. “We’ll see how the other games went today, but it’s not over. We’re one of the few sports where everybody gets to go to the championships. Hopefully, we can start improving more, especially defensively, going into bigger games.”
The Panthers will travel to the University of California, Irvine on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and return home to face the California Institute of Technology the following day at 4 p.m.