First half defense helps Chapman advance to SCIAC semis

Kelsey Mackin (photo by Mary Jane Barger)
Kelsey Mackin (photo by Mary Jane Barger)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's lacrosse team advanced to the second round of the SCIAC Championships with a 17-10 victory over visiting Whittier College at Wilson Field on Wednesday night. The No. 3-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 9-1 lead at halftime and held on in the second half to eliminate the No. 6-seeded Poets.

Chapman (13-5 overall) advances to face No. 2 seed Occidental College in Los Angeles on Saturday in the conference tournament semifinals. The Tigers received a first round bye and have defeated Chapman twice already this season.

The game looked like it would be a laugher with the Panthers scoring the first seven goals of the game and holding Whittier (3-14 overall) scoreless until the 6:35 mark in the first half – more than 23 shutout minutes. Chapman junior attacker Allie Kontny scored three consecutive goals in less than 3 minutes to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 9:11 remaining. Kontny finished with four goals in the game to go along with a pair of assists.

Trailing 9-1 at the intermission however, Whittier came out in the second half with upset on its mind. The Poets matched Chapman goal-for-goal for the first 15 minutes of the half and then went on a 4-0 run in a span of 2:30 to cut their deficit to five, 14-9.

Unfazed, Chapman scored the game's next three goals, including a score with a man advantage from freshman M Kelsey Mackin – one of her game-high five goals in the game – with 4:26 left to put the contest out of reach.

The SCIAC's leading offense, averaging nearly 16 goals per game coming in, Chapman exceeded that once again on Wednesday night scoring 17 goals (or more) for the ninth time this season. The Panthers also out-shot the Poets 41-20 in the game.

Senior goalie Anjali Thota meanwhile, kept Whittier in check with seven saves and improved to 9-4 in goal for the Panthers.

Chapman will look to avenge last weekend's 16-11 loss traveling to Occidental in the SCIAC semifinals on Saturday for an opportunity to play for the conference championship. Game time is set for 10 a.m.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director


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