Coming off a season in which they went 16-4 overall and reached the semifinals of the MCLA national tournament, the Chapman Panthers enter the 2016 season ranked No. 4 in both the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top 20 and the Under Armor MCLA Coaches Poll. High expectations are nothing new at Chapman, which has made eight consecutive trips to the national tournament.
Coach Dallas Hartley, who enters his sixth season as Chapman’s head coach with a 75-25 career record, shared his thoughts on the 2016 Panthers squad:
We graduated two of our defensive leaders and two of our midfield leaders and are currently assessing a large group of talented players to fill those spots. We do bring back our entire starting attack. We are carrying a smaller roster of 38 players, by design, in order to maximize practice time, and we have five coaches on staff this year.
We expect to build on our MCLA Final Four seasons from 2014 and 2015 and look to take the next step each day in practice to reach our ultimate goal. I am impressed with the team chemistry and attention to detail this group has each day.
— Dallas Hartley
Players to Watch
- Gus Gradinger, senior captain, goalie: Led the team in groundballs and tied the single-season save percentage record at Chapman as a junior.
- Connor Reilly, senior captain, midfield: Classic two-way midfielder who is the hardest-working player on the team.
- Steve Koressel, senior captain, attack: A graduate of Huntington Beach HS, Steve scored 84 points as a junior. Moved from midfield to attack after four games last year and averaged more than 4 points per game from that point on.
- Simon Jenkin, junior, midfielder: The most athletic and fastest player on the team. Simon is a two-way midfielder who also faces off.
- Nicky Mullen, junior, defenseman: First-team All-America as a freshman (pictured above vs. UC Santa Barbara in 2014). Returning from a shoulder injury that limited him to seven games last season. A physical presence on defense at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds who can cover top attackmen and clear the ball very well.
Happy to announce the 2016 captains. Connor Reilly, Alex Siegel, Steve Koressel, & Gus Gradinger. All seniors and all embody TEAM first.
— Chapman Lacrosse (@chapmanlaxcoach) January 25, 2016
The Panthers feature a number of players on their roster who have local ties:
Steve Koressel, Senior, Attack, Huntington Beach
Parker Core, Freshman, Middie, El Toro
Alex Siegel, Senior, LSM, Canyon Crest
San Diego County
Nolan Crosson, Junior, LSM, Santa Fe Christian
Brent Melbye, Junior, Middie, La Costa Canyon
Jacob Blaznek, Junior, DM, Westlake
Connor Doyle, Junior, Middie, Crespi Carmelite
Connor Reilly, Senior, Middie, Thousand Oaks
Jeff Shriver, Junior, Defender, Palos Verdes