Chapman softball co-Coach Lisle Lloyd thinks very highly of his team--and he isn't leery of talking about it.
The Panthers are playing their first season in the NCAA Division III, but Lloyd has been predicting a national title since last year. He hasn't changed his mind.
"Our goal is a national championship," he said before the season. "We don't plan to look back until after the championship game of the College World Series."
This week, the Panthers get a chance to meet Lloyd's expectations. Chapman (8-2), ranked 24th in a preseason Division III poll, is playing six of the top 12 Division III teams in the nation at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla.
Wednesday, Chapman defeated No. 12 Montclair (N.J.) State, 7-3, and No. 8 Wisconsin River Falls, 4-2. The Panthers play two games a day, today through Sunday.
Their second game Friday is against top-ranked Trenton (N.J.) State, the two-time defending Division III champion. In 1993, Chapman, then a Division II program, was the only team to beat Trenton State.
"They are pretty much aware of us," Panther co-Coach Janet Lloyd said. "We had a great battle that game."
Chapman, which has lost only to Division II-power Cal State Bakersfield, hadn't played in more than two weeks.
Outfielder Jenny Martinez, a junior transfer from Citrus College, leads the Panther offense. She was batting .450 before the tournament. Christy Guidorizzi, a freshman from Phoenix, was batting .400 and is 4-1 with a 1.40 earned-run average. Jessamine Maiben, a freshman from Oregon, and Lacee Rashi, a freshman from Lakewood, were batting .357 and .348.
Kathy Donovan, a junior from Fullerton College and Anaheim High, was batting .333 with a .963 slugging percentage.
Tough team: Washington (Md.) College, the top-ranked men's tennis team in NCAA Division III, defeated Southern California College, 6-1, Monday, but SCC co-Coach Ron Prettyman said it wasn't as bad a beating as it might seem.
The Vanguards (7-2) were playing without No. 1 singles player Mattias Johansson, who has a pulled gluteus muscle.
Davey Robbins, a redshirt freshman from Sunny Hills High, played No. 1 singles, losing, 6-3, 6-3, to Robin Sander, ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division III. Jeff Baker, a freshman from Edison High, came closer, losing at No. 4 singles to Andrew King, 7-6, 1-6, 6-0.
The Vanguards' only victory was at No. 2 doubles. Ross Andel and Ryan Lewis beat Michael Kember and King, 9-8 (7-1 in the tiebreaker).
"We were not bummed out about it at all," Prettyman said, "because our kids performed really well."
SCC, which finished the first round of the Golden State Athletic Conference 5-0, starts the second round Saturday, playing host to Azusa Pacific at the Costa Mesa Tennis Club in TeWinkle Park.
The Chapman golf team finished eighth in the 14-team college division of the Southern California Intercollegiate tournament Saturday at Torrey Pines. Senior Yasu Tanaka shot 81 for the Panthers, who finished with 334 strokes, 26 behind champion UC Davis.