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Spring 2016 sports preview

The end of interterm means that the start of spring sports at Chapman is just around the corner. With practices ramping up in preparation for the new season, each team will hope that its hard work yields worthy results. Chapman’s teams will look to improve on their results from last season and take advantage of the preseason optimism that comes with the blank slate of a 0-0 record. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the performances of Chapman’s teams from last season, and what to expect going in.

Men’s basketball

The Chapman men’s basketball team will continue its promising season with one more game in January, as the team will face off against Occidental College on Saturday. The Panthers are now 12-4 overall, and sit atop the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-2 record. Chapman will play seven more regular-season games in February as it closes out the regular season in a bid for a first-place finish in the conference.

Going into Wednesday night’s game, the Panthers had some notable league leaders, namely freshman guard, Cam Haslam, who led the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game. Haslam also sat in third in both three-point and free throw shooting percentages, at 47 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Sophomore forward James Taylor also led the league in field goal percentage (60.8 percent) and sophomore guard Rob Nelsen was third in field goal percentage (52.6 percent) and second in three-point percentage (47.3 percent) going into Wednesday night’s game.

The Panthers can set themselves apart from the rest of the conference with wins over second-place University of La Verne (8-8, 6-2) and third-place Whittier College (9-7, 5-3) in early February.

Women’s basketball

The Chapman women’s basketball team will continue its season with one more game in January before closing out the regular season in February. The Panthers are currently third in the conference with a 7-2 record (12-6 overall) and eight games left in the regular season.

Chapman has had a few notably key players for its success this season, with junior guard Megan Charles third in the conference in scoring at 14.2 points per game and freshman guard Katelyn Serizawa leading the league in assists at 4.7 per game.

Though Chapman will not have another chance against conference-leader Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (13-4, 8-0), the Panthers will play second-place California Lutheran University (13-5, 7-2) on Feb. 16 in a possible bid to take the second spot in the conference.

Baseball

Chapman’s baseball team will open its season unofficially on Jan. 30 with an alumni game before taking on East Texas Baptist University in a three-game series starting on Feb. 5. Despite a winning record both overall and in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last season (23-16, 16-12), the Panthers will hope to improve on their sixth-place finish.

Chapman will look to capitalize off of its familiar roster, with the team losing only three seniors to graduation after last season. Barring injuries and a huge overhaul of the roster, the Panthers will be able to keep their core group of players together.

Chapman had a collective .302 batting average last year and drove in more than 6.5 runs per game. With some defensive improvement and a similar offensive performance, Chapman can hope to improve its record with its already strong core group of players.

Softball

Chapman’s softball team will open its season on Feb. 12 against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Panthers finished sixth in conference (15-19, 12-16) last season.

The Panthers lost five seniors to graduation after last season, where the team had a collective .292 batting average and drove in 4 runs per game. In order to have more success than last season, Chapman must be able to limit the offensive prowess of their opposition, especially in conference.

Opposing teams batted .297 overall, but .311 in conference against Chapman. The Panthers’ earned run average also rose from 4.18 overall to 4.51 against conference opponents. If Chapman can improve on containing the opposition defensively, the Panthers may be in for a higher finish in the conference.

Golf

Chapman’s golf team will kick off its spring season Feb. 5 at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. The Panthers had some mixed results in the fall, losing against Occidental 2-3, but defeating Pomona-Pitzer 3-2 at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Match Play Invitational in September.

Chapman finished sixth out of eight places in a three-day tournament at Diamond Valley Golf Club on Sep. 22, but closed out the fall with a 291-304 win over Hope International University on Oct. 7.

The young group of golfers features only three upperclassmen on the 11-man roster. Chapman will hope that this youth and possible inexperience manifests itself positively, and sets the Panthers up for both a positive fall season and seasons to come.

Swimming and diving

Chapman’s swimming and diving teams will continue their seasons into February, with their two meets to come before the conference championships.

Currently, the men’s team stands at 0-5, though the women’s team stands at 2-3. Both teams will have three more matches before the championships, as they hope for improvement as the season draws to a close.

Tennis

The Chapman men’s and women’s tennis teams will be forced to accept a change of scenery this spring due to the construction of the new Center for Science and Technology. They will stake their temporary home at the Anaheim Hills Racquet Club, roughly nine miles from campus.

The men’s team will open its spring season against Linfield College on Feb. 5 as it looks to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish in the conference. The Panthers (11-9, 5-5) will hope to turn in some more cohesive performances in order to reach their full potential.

The women’s team had a similar season, finishing fifth in conference. The Panthers (10-11, 6-5) will have to try to compensate for some loss of experience, with three seniors graduating last year. The women will also open their season against Linfield on Feb. 6.

Track and Field

Chapman’s track and field teams will open their seasons on Feb. 20. The men’s team will only have room for improvement, after finishing last in conference last year, and failing to pick up any dual meet points or conference championships.

The women’s team performed slightly better than the men’s team, picking up one point from dual meets, and three conference championships. With the clean slate of a new season, both teams will look to improve in any areas they can.

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