Men’s soccer loses 2-0 to Redlands in conference final

Junior defender Lorenzo Belassen, right, chases Redlands junior defender Ben Thompson down the sideline Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of Redlands Sports Info.

Junior defender Lorenzo Belassen, right, chases Redlands junior defender Ben Thompson down the sideline Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of Redlands Sports Info.

The Chapman men’s soccer team failed to bring home its first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title in a 2-0 loss against University of Redlands Nov. 5.  This was the team’s first championship game since 2013, and despite beating Redlands 2-1 earlier in the season, the Panthers could not bring home the win.

Head coach Eddie Carrillo said the team needed to be more aggressive.

“We were going to just try and be aggressive like we were the last five, six, seven, eight games,” Carrillo said. “We had a good run there and we just tried to keep doing what we’ve been doing – play a little bit quicker and be aggressive on the attack. I don’t think we were as aggressive as we needed to be in the first half.”

Chapman got off to a poor start, allowing a goal in just the ninth minute of the game to Redlands (16-5, 12-4) junior midfielder Casey ChubbFertal. He found himself in a one-on-one with Chapman junior goalkeeper Sean Augustine and slotted a shot past him into the right part of the net for the opening goal.

The Panthers (14-5-2, 11-5-2) had trouble creating many chances, only managing to create one shot in the first half. Chapman was without junior midfielder Elliott Braund, who was suspended after receiving a red card in Chapman’s last game on Nov. 3. That game, Braund scored a free kick in the SCIAC semifinal against the University of La Verne (14-5-1, 11-4-1). Braund was Chapman’s second leading scorer on the season with seven goals.

Redlands sophomore defender Spencer Scott clears the ball away from freshman midfielder Justo Garcia in front of the Bulldogs’ goal Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of Redlands Sports Info

Chapman struggled to hold possession of the ball and eventually conceded a second goal in the 53rd minute of the game. Redlands junior forward Chase Boone –  who assisted the first goal – found himself open in the middle of the box and headed in senior defender Austin Moore’s cross past Augustine, who had come off his line.

Senior midfielder Ryan Godinez said the result came down to execution.

“I think we played good,” Godinez said. “I think we could have done a little bit more, but I mean sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. I think they got two shots on goal and two goals and we didn’t have that many opportunities. They took care of their opportunities and we didn’t.”

Chapman was able to create some chances in the second half, taking 17 shots in total. The best chances came from a shot by senior midfielder Daniel Malikyar, whose saved shot resulted in a corner. Off the corner, senior defender Connor Tobia had two chances – the first was a header cleared off the line by a Redlands defender, and the second was a rebound shot that was blocked by another defender.

Godinez said that he was proud of his teammates regardless of the result.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team, being a senior,” Godinez said. “Every day, everyone comes out and puts in the work and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Despite the loss, Carrillo said he is holding out hope for a possible NCAA Division III tournament playoff spot, which will be announced Monday, Nov. 7. The winner of the SCIAC gets an automatic bid to the tournament, but the NCAA may also decide that Chapman or another team played well enough to qualify by giving them an at-large bid.

“We had a great season. We’ll see what happens,” Carrillo said. “We’re still going to wait until Monday, you know you never know. I think we’ve had a good enough year that maybe we get a chance for an at-large bid. We’ll see, I don’t know – our players are very good.”

With the season over unless Chapman receives a bid, Godinez reflected on his time as a Chapman soccer player.

“Man, it was a blast,” Godinez said. “I had four successful seasons. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way, but I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had with these guys for the world.”

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