The Chapman men’s lacrosse team lost its Men’s College Lacrosse Association tournament semifinal game against Grand Canyon University 11-8 in an overcast Thursday afternoon matchup on Wilson Field.
“We weren’t playing good team defense,” said freshman defender Liam Barnes. “We were turning the ball over, and we couldn’t win a face off or pick up a ground ball today.”
The Panthers ended the first quarter trailing 3-0, before falling behind by four at the start of the second. Senior midfielder Chris Hermann pulled one back to make it 4-1, before freshman attack Dylan Garner netted to put the score at 4-2. Grand Canyon then put away two to go into halftime leading 6-2 with Chapman visibly struggling to find the form that had carried it to this point in the tournament. Grand Canyon outshot the Panthers 18-8 in the first half.
“(Grand Canyon) has a high-powered offense and they executed well,” said sophomore defender P.J. Titterton. “It just took us a few minutes to find out the keys and regain control.”
Things did not seem to be getting any better at the beginning of the second half, with Chapman still looking disjointed as Grand Canyon continued to take its chances to lead 8-2 early in the third. However, that seemed to be the wakeup call the Panthers needed, as they suddenly swung the momentum strongly in their favor.
“I think we knew that there was such little time left in our season and we just left it all out on the field,” Barnes said. “We fought until the last second and were finishing shots. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”
Junior midfielder Steve Koressel’s composure in front of goal gave the Panthers belief, as he scored to start the Panther fightback to make it 8-3, before assisting junior attack Dave Apruzzesse to put the Panthers within four.
“Our defense started to get more stops and we started to win face offs,” Titterton said. “Both those things give the offense more time to get comfortable and work out a system to score.”
However, a penalty on the Panthers left Grand Canyon a man up, which they took full advantage of, scoring to make it 9-4.
But it was Koressel with another clinical low finish to recharge the Panthers, as Garner ripped a shot into the net shortly after to make it 9-6 with just more than five minutes left. Senior midfielder Brenton Croteau then scored Chapman’s seventh after impressively stripping Grand Canyon to score an unassisted goal on the break.
Garner then scored his hat trick to put the Panthers within a goal at 9-8, but two goals in the final minute from Grand Canyon, one on an empty net after the Panthers threw everything forward, sealed the Panthers’ elimination from the tournament.