The men’s water polo team played its last home game of the season Nov. 8, capping off its home campaign with an 18-9 rout over the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
The night began with recognitions of the six seniors: utility players Bennett Royce and Louis Campbell, centers Wilson Parnell and Jeff O’Brien, attacker Jack Hillman and driver Nathaniel Fernandez. All six players started the game. Hillman hadn’t yet processed the game being his last Chapman home game.
“(It’s) a little nostalgic,” Hillman said. “It hasn’t quite hit me yet but i know once it sinks in, I’m going to miss this place.”
For Chapman, which is third place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), the win was expected. Caltech (2-11 in-conference) is in eighth place out of nine teams in the SCIAC.
“There’s not really anything to highlight,” Royce said. “(Caltech is) consecutively the worst team in SCIAC.”
Until this season, Caltech had not won a SCIAC game since 2001.
Chapman has adapted well since the conference shifted to a four-game playoff system, as opposed to last year’s system, which allowed every team to make the playoffs. The Panthers secured a third place spot, qualifying for the playoffs this year, compared to last year’s sixth place finish.
“We’ve improved (immensely) this season compared to last,” Hillman said. “We’re very securely locked into third place and we’re very proud of our efforts. We’ve come along way in our (team) chemistry.”
Within the first three minutes of the game, Chapman scored five goals. Caltech fired back with four unanswered goals, cutting Chapman’s lead to one point at the end of the first quarter. After the first quarter, Chapman outscored Caltech 13-5.
“We have a great group of guys, and after last season we knew we had to come together,” Royce said. “Every individual knows how to mesh well with one another.”
Chapman’s final regular season game will be at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Pomona-Pitzer.