This past Saturday UCSB Men’s Lacrosse took on the reigning national champions, Chapman University. It was the regular season finale and proved to be one of the most exciting and nerve racking games of the year.
In the first quarter Chapman was having their way with the ball. They scored 6 unanswered goals and completely shut out the Gauchos. The Panthers had all the momentum and it looked like they had the game in hand.
Luckily the Gauchos reassessed their defensive approach, and flipped a switch in the second quarter. UCSB managed to score four times in the second quarter, while only letting up 2 goals. Eli Suhadolnik got the first goal of the game for the Gauchos followed by goals from Jake Newman, Casey Mix, and Kai Welsh. They were back in this one, and the mentality going into halftime was very different than the start of the game.
Kai Welsh got his second goal of the game to start the scoring in the second half. This was followed by an awesome fast break rip from David (Stoddy) Carey, and the momentum was beginning to shift. The Gauchos defense was lights out in the third quarter, and they didn’t let up a single point to the Panther’s offense. Casey Mix got his second of the day to bring the score within one point, and then Andrew Ferguson picked up a pivotal ground ball on crease, and miraculously put it in the back of the net to tie it all up at eight a piece.
The final quarter was a complete battle from start to finish. Chapman scored first, refusing to lose the lead, but Jake Newman responded with a goal on crease to tie it at nine. Sadly, that would be the only goal for UCSB in the final quarter, and on the proceeding faceoff Chapman ran down and scored to regain the lead. What seemed like a promising chance ended up being a heartbreaking loss for the Gauchos, as the final score was 11 to 9 Chapman.
The SLC Playoffs will now begin, and the Gauchos have home field advantage for the quarterfinals this Saturday against the University of Arizona. UCSB refuses to be counted out, and will look to improve this week and make a statement in the SLC. The game will begin at 1:00 pm at UCSB.