With first place in the conference on the line, the Chapman women’s lacrosse team found itself tied with Pomona-Pitzer April 20 at eight goals each, with just under a minute to go in the game. With 31 seconds left, junior midfielder Tessa Oliaro scored for Chapman, securing a 9-8 victory and temporarily catapulting the Panthers into first place.
Head Coach Dan Kirkpatrick said the goal was huge for the team’s confidence.
“It was huge. Pomona-Pitzer is one of the best teams in our league, and to show that we can compete with the best is huge for morale and it’s huge for continuing to build our confidence.”
Pomona-Pitzer (13-3, 8-2) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (13-3, 8-2) both won their games as well, leaving Chapman (13-3, 8-2) in a virtual tie, though practically in third place.
Sports Information Director Steven Olveda said that Chapman finished third as the tiebreaker is conference goals against, and Chapman sits below both Claremont and Pomona in that category.
Regardless of the playoff matchup, Kirkpatrick said the team would be facing a tough game.
“I expect to play some really good teams,” he said. “Our conference this year has been incredibly tough top to bottom, so it’s one of those things where whomever we end up playing is going to be a good lacrosse team, and we’ve got to be prepared to play our best.”
Until Oliaro’s goal, Chapman never led in Wednesday’s contest at Wilson Field. The Sagehens jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, and the Panthers found themselves needing to claw their way back the rest of the game.
With just less than eight minutes remaining in the first half, Chapman tied the game at five, but that was followed by two consecutive goals by Pomona-Pitzer. Chapman scored the final three goals of the game though, securing the victory.
“We just stayed consistent, we didn’t panic,” Kirkpatrick said. “We came in with a game plan and we continued to execute that game plan. We made minor adjustments, but it was mostly just staying the course and keeping a positive attitude.”
Freshman midfielder Danielle Zahn led Chapman with three goals in the game. Senior midfielder Brooke Martini and sophomore midfielder Stacey Zuppa had two goals apiece.
No. 3 Chapman will face off at home against No. 6 Whittier College (7-10, 1-9) April 27.
Due to the point system that women’s lacrosse operates under in deciding a conference champion, the first and second seeds receive first-round byes, as well as an additional point.
Each team is given one point for each regular season conference win, and the winners of the first-round playoff games receive one point.
The lowest-seeded winner of that round will travel to Pomona-Pitzer and the highest-seeded winer will travel to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps April 30, with the winners of those games receiving four points, and the losers receiving three.
The semifinal winners will then travel to the highest remaining seed May 7, with the winner receiving five points and the loser receiving four points. Due to the virtual ties that the top-three seeds are in, however, whichever one of those teams wins the conference tournament will win the conference title.