The men’s soccer team opened its regular season this weekend with a 3-1 loss to Messiah University and a 1-1 draw in double overtime against Methodist College at the University of Mary Washington Kickoff Classic in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Head coach Eddie Carrillo said he was happy with his team’s effort against strong opposition in No. 11 nationally-ranked Messiah (19-1-3 last year) on Sept. 1, though it was a taxing game.
“I thought we were really good (Sept. 1), but (Messiah) was a really good team, so it took a lot out of us and I thought we were a little tired today,” Carillo said. “Overall, it was a good trip.”
Senior midfielder Elliott Braund – who scored the lone goal for Chapman against Methodist on Saturday – said he felt positively about how Chapman played in the loss to Messiah – a team that has won 10 of the last 16 Division III national titles.
“I think we’ve done OK this weekend, it’s really allowed us to judge where we are at as a team,” Braund said. “We played a great game Sept. 1 against Messiah, we played hard and gave them trouble all game. They were very fortunate to score off two deflected goals, otherwise we would’ve come out of that game with a (positive) result.”
Chapman (15-6-2 last year) was off the mark first against Messiah, with sophomore midfielder Justo Garcia scoring the opener in the 51st minute. But five minutes later, Messiah responded with the first of three goals in quick succession (56’, 59’, 66’), the first and last of which were a result of the deflections Braund mentioned.
Garcia was involved in both of Chapman’s goals over the weekend, scoring against Messiah Sept. 1 and assisting Braund against Methodist Sept. 2. Garcia said he hopes to build on his early success.
“It was an awesome feeling to get the assist in the first few minutes of (the Sept. 2) game and the goal against Messiah,” Garcia said. “Scoring in the first game was just what I needed. There’s no better feeling than scoring a goal and celebrating with your family, and I’m looking forward to continue celebrating like we did on that goal.”
Chapman found some immediate success Sept. 2 in its 1-1 draw against Methodist (8-8-1 last year), with Braund opening the scoring from Garcia’s assist off a corner in the sixth minute. Despite the early goal, Chapman conceded itself in the second half and was unable to break the deadlock after double overtime.
Braund said that despite being happy with his first goal of the season, which he said “is always the hardest to get,” Chapman can do a better job capitalizing on its chances.
“I think we just need to take the chances we create on a more consistent basis,” Braund said. “It felt like we created a lot of chances today, but we didn’t always take advantage of those.”
Carrillo said he is still looking to find the right balance for the team heading into the conference season.
“We have to build some depth, we have to figure out what our rotation is, see how these players can help us and figure out who we’re going to rotate in to give our starters a break,” Carrillo said.
Chapman will return to campus for its home- and conference-opener Sept. 6, a 7 p.m. game against Pomona-Pitzer, which Chapman beat in both meetings last year.