The California Lutheran University Kingsmen fell 8-7 to the Chapman Panthers in a well-fought Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference battle at the Samuel Aqatics Center. Chapman’s victory was highlighted by an impressive four goals from senior center Jeff O’Brien.
“I didn’t really know how many goals I got, it was just about coming out on the road and getting the win. My teammates, you know, they’re awesome so it was just a great team win,” O’Brien said.
The opening sprint between Chapman’s Brady Hoskins and Cal Lutheran’s Davy Thomas was won by the Panthers, followed by a quick steal by the Kingsmen’s Wyatt Lowe.
After five saved scoring attempts between the two teams, Chapman was the first on the board with a goal from junior utility Kevin Dayan assisted by senior driver Nathaniel Fernandez. This gave Chapman an early lead over the Kingsmen.
“We got off to a pretty slow start on offense. I think finally getting that goal rallied the team and brought us together to know we could win it,” Dayan said.
Chapman’s next goal followed only 30 seconds later, O’Brien keeping the Panthers on top, bringing the tally to 2-0.
The Kingsmen were able to keep the game close behind a goal from junior utility Mats Albins, putting Cal Lutheran on the board trailing 2-1.
The Panthers closed out the first period with O’Brien’s second goal, assisted by senior utility Bennett Royce, bringing the score to 3-1 after eight minutes of play.
Cal Lutheran senior goalkeeper Nick Loomis came out strong on defense in the second, grabbing a steal on top of saving two shots.
Midway through the second, Cal Lutheran’s Justin English scored the first goal of the quarter, bringing the Kingsmen within one at 3-2. Within the final two minutes of the half, senior attacker Davy Thomas scored two goals, bringing Cal Lutheran to match Chapman at 4-4.
The Kingsmen started out hot in the third, taking their first lead of the game with a goal scored by sophomore attacker Hans Cole with the assist from freshman center Wyatt Lowe.
Following two Cal Lutheran turnovers and a Chapman timeout, the Panther’s Dayan scored a goal to force the second tie of the game at 5-5.
“All the ties were crazy. It was really close the whole time but we just came together and were locked in to win. Communication is always important for us, but even more in this game, I think,” Dayan said.
With a close game to start the fourth quarter, both teams struggled to score, Chapman’s offensive woes continued due to key saves by Loomis.
The Kingsmen’s Taggart Diehl tied up the game again with 5 minutes and 18 seconds left to play, but a no-look goal by the Panther’s Royce brought Chapman the 7-6 lead and scoring on the next possession, 8-6.
Great defense down the stretch by Cal Lutheran kept them in the game at 8-7, but the defense of Chapman proved to be too much. The final 37 seconds of the game were not enough for the Kingsmen to force overtime, the final score remained 8-7.
The Kingsmen (12-12, 6-6 SCIAC) are back in action Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. to face Whittier on the road.