Men’s lacrosse takes No. 1 ranking, stays undefeated

Sophomore attacker Wesley Greason shoots and scores against the University of Florida. Photo by Allie Camp

Sophomore attacker Wesley Greason shoots and scores against the University of Florida. Photo by Allie Camp

The Chapman men’s lacrosse team, recently ranked the No. 1 team in Division I of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, competed in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in Las Vegas this weekend. The Panthers played in three games, and were able to come away with three victories, defeating No. 4 Brigham Young University (BYU) 10-9, No. 21 Utah Valley 13-5 and the University of Texas 19-0.

“I personally have never played on a team with this level of camaraderie and chemistry,” said senior attacker Dave Appruzesse. “There is something special brewing and I am expecting big things from Chapman lacrosse this season.”

He added that the BYU game was a good test for them.

“BYU was the first true test of the season. The first few games we maintained a healthy lead throughout the game,” he said. “Against BYU we were down early and managed to come back. Even though we were down, we kept our heads on straight and executed our offensive and defensive schemes.”

It required overtime for the Panthers to beat BYU (5-1, 1-0) in a game full of scoring runs from both teams. BYU jumped out to a 4-0 lead but Chapman (6-0) responded with five straight goals to take a 5-4 lead into halftime.

BYU again jumped in front, outscoring Chapman 4-1 in the third quarter, but Chapman was again able to battle back and force the game into overtime when senior midfielder Connor Reily scored the game-winning goal to keep the Panthers’ undefeated season alive.

The Panthers then continued that momentum into Saturday, when they jumped out to an early 5-1 lead over Utah Valley (3-2) and never looked back, earning the 13-5 victory.

“We had a huge win on Friday in overtime against BYU,” said junior defender Jeff Shriver. “So we carried on the good energy into the next game against Utah Valley. We all respect the game so we always come out ready to play our best despite the other teams’ ranking or hype.”

Sunday completed a perfect weekend for Chapman, who came out hot and crushed Texas (3-6, 1-2) to the tune of 19-0.

Earlier in the week, Chapman hosted the University of Florida Gators (2-3). Chapman jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 21-6 victory in its home opener.

“We did a great job of coming out focused and ready to play. Our defense and offense looked great in the first quarter and our starters did a great job of building a comfortable lead,” said sophomore attacker Dylan Garner.

The game wasn’t competitive for long, as Chapman jumped out to a 13-1 lead early in the second quarter.

“We have a lot of good teams lined up in the next couple weeks. We are going take it one game at a time and prove to everyone we deserve that No. 1 national ranking,” Shriver said.

With a 6-0 start and No. 1 overall ranking, Shriver agreed with Appruzesse regarding the team’s potential.

“We truly have a family with brothers willing to do anything for each other. There is something special with this group of guys and we are working hard to be successful every day.”

Chapman will travel to the University of California, Los Angeles (3-4, 0-1) for an 8 p.m. game on March 10 for its first divisional game of the season.

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