The Chapman men’s lacrosse team claimed a 12-3 senior day victory over visiting University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to finish its regular season atop the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference’s north division with a 14-2 record.
Chapman (14-2, 6-0) also moved from third to second in the Under Armor Men’s College Lacrosse Association’s Coaches Poll. The last time Chapman was ranked as high as second was March 29, 2010.
“We came out and played one of the best first halves we’ve played this year,” said junior midfielder Alex Siegel. “We were very fired up to play our final regular season home game, in front of a great crowd as we celebrated our seniors. UCSB played a zone defense and our offense was very patient as we looked for the best shot, not the first shot.”
Junior attacks Dave Appruzesse and Steve Koressel got the Panthers off to an early 2-0 lead, before freshman attack Dylan Garner made it 3-0 shortly after.
Appruzesse then netted his second, and sophomore attack Tyler Standley added to Chapman’s lead right before the end of the first quarter.
Garner scored again to make it 6-0 at the start of the second quarter, before senior midfielder Chris Herrmann scored Chapman’s seventh goal of the half.
Appruzesse completed his hat trick at the start of the third quarter, before UCSB (3-12, 3-3) responded with two goals while a man-up to make the score 8-2. Standley responded with his second to make it 9-2, before Koressel claimed his own hat trick with two more goals to put the Panthers up 11-2.
The fourth quarter saw UCSB pull one back before Chapman responded as the game ended in a 12-3 Panther victory.
“The team is very excited for playoffs but we definitely have a lot of work to put in,” said freshman midfielder Liam Barnes. The Panthers now have their eyes fixed on the playoffs, with their first round opponents to be announced soon.
“The team is feeling very confident,” Siegel said. “We are clicking on offense and defense. The teams we are most likely going to play have very good offenses but not the best defenses. So, if we can play great defense and hold them to fewer goals than they are used to, then we feel our offense will put up enough to win.”
Though Chapman does not know who it will play yet, the first round will kick off Saturday, followed by the semifinals May 1 and the finals May 3, with the semis and finals being played at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad.
If Chapman can advance to the Men’s College Lacrosse National Championships, the Panthers will have a home field advantage, as Chapman would be playing on its own Wilson Field for the duration of the tournament, which will last from May 11-16.