ORANGE, Calif. – In the women's lacrosse team's final home game tabbed 'Senior Night', Chapman University secured a pivotal victory over visiting Whittier College heading into the final game of the regular season in second place in the SCIAC. The Panthers defeated the Poets 14-10 at Wilson Field on Wednesday night to earn the series sweep after they defeated Whittier 18-8 in February.
Following a pregame ceremony honoring four Chapman seniors: G Anjali Thota, D Gabby David, M Audrey Benjamin and M Cristina Chan, the Panthers jumped out to a 4-0 lead only to see it evaporate late in the half.
Whittier was held scoreless until a Shaina Denny goal with 12:29 to play, to narrow the lead to 4-1. Chapman freshman M Gabby Smith quickly responded with a goal of her own for the Panthers, but they couldn't stop the Poets who in a span of five minutes narrowed the lead to 5-4. Although never gaining the lead, the Poets finished the half down by just a goal, 6-5.
Denny led the Poets with a team-high four goals and added an assist. Sophomore G Nicole Yorba had a big game in goal for Whittier with 19 saves while facing 33 Chapman shots.
The second half began just as the first half ended, with a goal by each side, but the Panthers found their rhythm quickly as they jumped to a 10-6 lead eight minutes into the half. Thota led a strong defense for Chapman, not allowing the Poets to get closer than three goals the remainder of the game.
Thota finished with five saves while freshman M Kelsey Mackin led the offensive push with a team-high four goals. Junior M Lauren Mah collected a team-high six draw controls and the Panthers received two goals each from freshman A Savannah Schmidt and junior A Allie Kontny.
The Panthers temporarily move a half-game ahead of Occidental College in the conference standings and will travel to Los Angeles to face the Tigers on Saturday in what will likely be a battle for sole possession of second place in the SCIAC along with a first round bye in the SCIAC Tournament.
by Bogart Avila
Sports Information Intern