Freshman midfielder Danielle Zahn has had a coruscating first season with the Panthers. Heading into the Southern Californian Intercollegiate Athletic Conference final, she has recovered 41 ground balls, created 10 assists and is the highest scoring freshman on the team with 25 goals.
1. How old were you when you started playing lacrosse and why did you start?
I started playing freshman year of high school, so I was 13, turning 14. I wanted something different. I played soccer my whole life, since I was 4, so it was time for a change and I decided to do lacrosse instead of track.
2. What motivates you to play your hardest?
The team, and being surrounded by a good group of girls that really push you. Even if you do something wrong, they’re always there to back you up and have you keep going and work your hardest, no matter what. They’re very supportive and they want you to do your best too.
3. Do you have any pregame rituals?
As a team, we usually do this thing called “game ball,” where we just pass around the same ball, every time, before a game and it’s all quiet, and we just think about what we want to do before the game and how we want to execute, and we just pass it around the team, and when we’re all done, we do our cheer.
4. What is your favorite part of being on the Chapman lacrosse team?
There are so many things. Definitely the girls. They’re very nice, very supportive of you. They make it fun, but it’s also an environment where you can be serious and competitive with each other. But at the end of the day, you still know that you guys are teammates and friends. I think the competitive atmosphere is a big part of it, because I’m very competitive, and I know that going up against someone that is equally, if not more competitive, is such a great challenge.
5. What is your favorite aspect of lacrosse?
I think my favorite part is if you catch a ball off of a transition and you’re just sprinting down the field and no one can catch you. You just see everyone in front of you coming at you. It’s just so much fun to just beat players as you’re sprinting down and watch the other team watch you go by. It’s so much fun.
6. What is a hobby of yours aside from lacrosse?
Well, I like all sports in general. I just love to be outdoors. I like going running with my dog a lot. I have a golden retriever and she loves going out for 5-mile runs, so that’s something I do a lot.
7. What would you like to do in the future?
Since I’m only a freshman – just stick out the next three years and create many more memories with the team, and maybe get to more championships. In general, I hope to graduate here with a psychology degree, and go off and maybe work with children, something like that.
8. What is your favorite memory of lacrosse?
This past season. We played Pomona-Pitzer twice – and we’re going to play them again in the championship – but the first time we played Pomona, I scored the first goal for Chapman. I scored the goal to tie it up, and then my friend, Tessa (Oliaro, junior midfielder), scored the winning goal. The second time we played them, the same thing happened again – I scored the first goal and she scored the final one, so that was pretty cool.
9. What does it feel like to be heading into the conference finals?
It feels really good because I knew from the start that we had a really strong team. But to actually be able to execute everything that our coaches wanted us to, and that we wanted to, it feels really good to know that we’re actually good enough to be able to progress and even go further and possibly bring home the first championship for women’s lacrosse here.