Women’s lacrosse finishes 2nd after heartbreak loss

Despite a hard-fought game, the women’s lacrosse team saw its conference championship hopes disappear in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference final. In a close championship game, the Panthers were beaten by Pomona-Pitzer 10-9 May 7.

“It’s obviously hard to lose in the championship game and only by one point, but it’s good to know we put up a hard fight and the game really could have gone either way,” said sophomore midfielder Stacey Zuppa.

The game was never dominated by either team, with Chapman taking the largest lead of the game early on when it went up 3-0 in the first half. At halftime, Chapman had a 6-4 lead over Pomona-Pitzer.

“I thought it was a hard-fought game,” said Head Coach Dan Kirkpatrick. “It was going to come down to whoever had the ball last.”

Both teams attempted 20 shots by the end of the game, but Pomona-Pitzer was given significant free chances due to Chapman’s inability to hold on to the ball. Chapman committed 12 turnovers to Pomona-Pitzer’s two turnovers.

“I think the difference came down to execution at the end of the game,” Kirkpatrick said. “We had a couple of opportunities to score to tie it up and we weren’t able to do it. Throughout the game, we had a few too many turnovers that gave Pomona second-chance opportunities.”

Zuppa, who scored two of the Panthers nine goals, and created two assists, reflected back on the game, and the entire season.

“It was hard-fought game and as easy as it is to look back and think if certain plays or shots went differently so could the game,” she said. “We know we played our hearts out and have done great things this season.”

Although the Panthers had to deal with the reality of coming so close to a championship, there was still plenty in this season to be proud of, Kirkpatrick said, with the coruscating season not yet over.

“It was a great season,” he said. “It’s one of those things where it’s been a lot of fun, the players worked hard all year and you couldn’t have asked for a better group of young ladies. They’ve overachieved every week, and it’s been fun to be a part of it. The Chapman lacrosse team’s future is pretty bright. I’m looking forward to continuing to compete on a yearly basis for the (conference) championship.”

The Panthers will face off against Pomona-Pitzer once again in the NCAA Division III postseason tournament May 15. The game will be played at Pomona-Pitzer. The time is yet to be determined.

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