Men’s lacrosse beats Gators 21-6 in home opener

The Chapman men’s lacrosse team hosted the University of Florida Gators Monday evening, but was a less-than gracious host, putting in an unrelenting performance against the visitors. 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,” said sophomore attacker Dylan Garner. “Our defense and offense looked great in the first quarter and our starters did a great job of building a comfortable lead.”

The game wasn’t competitive for long, as the No. 2 nationally-ranked Panthers (3-0) jumped out to a 13-1 lead early in the second quarter, which only expanded from there.

The 21 overall goals were a season-high for Chapman, who won its first two games 12-4 and 13-5 over Sonoma State University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.

Twelve different Panthers scored in the game, with senior attacker Steve Koressel leading the team with four goals, and attackers senior Dave Appruzesse and sophomore Wes Greason adding three goals each.

Garner, who had one goal Monday and is tied for third on the team with nine points on the season (four goals and five assists), said that it was a bit of a struggle to remain motivated after jumping out to the early lead.

“It’s definitely hard staying motivated and competitive throughout a game like today’s,” he said. “It started to get a little sloppy at times, however, we were usually able to rebound from that and start focusing up again throughout the game.”

Florida (3-2) was only outscored 5-3 by Chapman in the second half, but the improvement ultimately meant little.

The Panthers, who play in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference in Division I of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, are ranked first in their conference, but have yet to play any conference games.

Chapman lost to Grand Canyon University in the semifinals of the national tournament last year, but the promising start to the season is an early indicator of the Panthers’ legitimate stake for a national championship this season.

“This year we are hoping to compete and win for the national championship just like every year,” Garner said. “We have a great group of guys who are all committed to getting better and we all have the same goal of winning it all this year.”

The Panthers will travel to Las Vegas this weekend in the LAX Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, as they will face off against Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and the University of Texas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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