The Chapman men’s water polo team lost both of its Lancer Invitational games against Division II opponents in Riverside, losing 9-6 to tournament hosts California Baptist and later falling 12-11 in overtime to Fresno Pacific.
The two non-conference defeats drop the Panthers’ record down to .500 at 3-3.
“[Cal Baptist and Fresno Pacific] are two very good teams. We needed four strong quarters in both games to have a chance at beating them,” said junior driver Mackey McGibben.
It did not go that way for the Panthers. A lack of consistency plagued their performances throughout the day, with periods of strong play overshadowed by temporary, but costly lapses in sharpness.
Chapman fell behind early 5-1 to Cal Baptist, making a comeback too big a task for the Panthers to accomplish, despite a better showing in the final three quarters of the game.
The Panthers had the opposite issue in their second game of the day against Fresno Pacific, jumping out to an early 4-1 first quarter lead over the Sunbirds, but failing to maintain their lead for the remainder of the game.
Fresno Pacific climbed back to tie the game and force an overtime period, which ended in a 12-11 loss for the Panthers.
“We need to stick to what we’re good at, and stick to it for four quarters,” head coach Eric Ploessel said. “We need to keep up with our defense. That’s when we’re at our best, when we’re using our defense to get us goals. Also we need to keep our intensity up in practices so that we’re not lowering ourselves and our intensity during games, because sometimes we do that.”
For sophomore utility Corey Plaster, this weekend’s losses can serve as a definite learning experience for the Panthers.
“Coming into this weekend, we decided that this weekend was a time to learn,” Plaster said. “We wanted to run our offense and defense hard in preparation for next week, because we are going to be playing some hard teams.”
Plaster said Lancer Invitational games were a way for his team to prepare for playing other Division III teams in conference games.
“We have the speed, we have the strength,” he said. “It’s just how we play as a group consistently when we’re faced with teams who play different [styles of] offenses and defenses that needs to improve.”
Chapman will need to fix their consistency issues quickly during their practices in order to avoid embarrassment against Division I opposition in next week’s clashes with Northern California powerhouses Stanford and Santa Clara.
After a weekend of disappointing results, Chapman will be looking to make a statement against the two Division I schools in the Aggie Shootout this coming weekend in Davis, Calif. in order to prepare themselves for SCIAC games the following week.