Panthers pounce on Flames: Liberty men’s lacrosse falls to Chapman on home turf, 11-8

Liberty University’s men’s lacrosse team fell to the visiting Chapman Panthers Saturday night in Lynchburg 11-8. The Flames dropped to a record of 8-4 with the loss, while the fifth-ranked Panthers improved to 8-2.  

Sophomore attacker Dante DeCollibus led the way for Chapman with three goals. For Liberty, senior midfielder Keaton Mohs tallied three goals and two assists, raising his season point total to 52, first on the team. 

“Keaton’s a guy who plays with a ton of energy and a ton of fight,” Flames Assistant Coach Mike Zumpano said after the game. “He’s never going to let a game go by where he’s not going to have his impact felt.”  

Keaton Mohs notched three goals against Chapman | Photo by Noah Seidlitz

Mohs, who was moved from midfielder to attackman going into the weekend, struggled in the position Thursday against Utah Valley but settled into the adjusted role against the Panthers.  

“I felt good. I was playing attack again, and it was good to be down there and get more chances on offense,” Mohs said. 

It was a tight back-and-forth game most of the way. For the first few minutes, play was very sloppy with multiple unforced turnovers from both sides until Mohs jump-started the scoring in the middle of the first quarter, giving the Flames an early lead. Juniors Peyton Doyle and Will Geary both added goals for the Flames, and Liberty led 3-1 at the end of the first. 

In the second quarter, Chapman’s offense came to life, scoring a goal with 4.5 seconds left in the second quarter to take a 6-5 halftime lead; and after an even third quarter, the Panthers led 8-7. In the fourth, Chapman put up three unanswered goals to take firm control of the game. 

Liberty’s offense struggled in the fourth quarter as it did in the third, only mustering up one goal late in the frame. Mohs believes that the Flames were right where they wanted to be and just needed to execute. 

“We got all the right shots we wanted to take; we’ve just gotta place them better,” Mohs said.

Bryn Jungles and the Flames couldn’t manage a fourth quarter comeback | Photo by Noah Seidlitz

The Flames lost some steam in the fourth, and Zumpano believes that the team lacked energy when it was needed. 

“Playing with some energy typically is the thing that can turn the tide, and we just couldn’t muster the energy in big moments,” Zumpano said. “We had some big plays, some big opportunities, and I think there were too many times where we let our own mistakes kind of compound and let them lead to more mistakes.” 

With the playoffs quickly approaching, the Flames know they need to get back on track in the remainder of the regular season. Liberty has two more chances to put it together before the start of the playoffs. It faces Clemson at home April 7 and James Madison on the road April 14, with 15 days off before its next game.  

“It’ll be good to rest our bodies. (We can) recover and end the season strong,” Mohs said. 

Perdew is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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