The women’s lacrosse team hit the road to play Whittier College Wednesday, the first of two games last week. Chapman defeated the host Poets decisively in an 18-8 win before returning home to take on nonconference foe Morrisville State College 17-7 Friday evening at Wilson Field.
The Panthers (4-1, 3-1) started out slow against Whittier, holding on to just a one-point halftime advantage. The first half started out strong for Chapman after an early 6-2 lead, highlighted by back-to-back goals from sophomore attack Abbey Messmer. Whittier (0-5, 0-5) was quick to make up for lost time, scoring four goals to set the score at 7-6 at the end of the half.
Senior defender Cristina Chan said the unexpected 12-10 loss to the University of Redlands Feb. 16 was still haunting the players during the first half.
“It absolutely was still on our minds. We have talked a lot since then and our ambition to better ourselves made us improve tonight,” Chan said.
Chapman came out strong in the second half, outscoring the Poets 11-2. Junior attack Allie Kontny scored three of the Panthers’ second-half goals and led the team with four on the day.
Chapman was able to get off 39 shots to Whittier’s 23. Senior goalie Anjali Thota played the entire second half and only allowed two goals to sneak past. Thota said the team bounced back from the prior grim loss to Redlands.
“We came out really strong against [Whittier],” Thota said.
Despite the lackluster start, the Panthers were able to come away with a decisive win thanks to the lopsided second half. The scoreboard read 18-8 as the clock winded down, giving Chapman its third win of the young season.
Coming off the SCIAC win, the Panthers returned home to face Morrisville (0-1) in the Mustangs’ season debut, winning 17-7 to tally yet another double-digit victory.
The Panthers dominated the first half, scoring eight consecutive goals. With a 14-2 halftime score, freshman defender Alessandra Porfido said the team was riding high.
“We gained our confidence back and we were making fewer mistakes,” Porfido said.
The second half didn’t yield the same results, as Chapman was outscored 5-3 in a game that was no longer close. Still, the Panthers were disappointed with the level of intensity.
“We fell off in the second half. We need to focus on keeping momentum for the whole game,” Thota said.
Head coach Brian Eisenberg feels that inconsistency is the biggest obstacle the team faces at this point.
“We put together a lot of halves. We need to play a whole game with the same intensity,” Eisenberg said.
After the back-to-back double-digit pair of victories, the team has gained a substantial amount of momentum. Junior defender Catherine LaPlant said the team is beginning to realize their potential.
“We worked really well together,” LaPlant said. “We realized that, no matter who we’re playing, we need to play our game.”
Chapman will play its next game against SCIAC rival Occidental College Friday at 7 p.m. at Wilson Field.