5/10/12 5:00 PM
ANNAPOLIS, MD -The Chesapeake Bayhawks weren’t even close to being at full strength for their Major League Lacrosse (MLL) season opener. Slowly but surely, all the roster pieces are coming together.
Chesapeake added two key parts for last Saturday’s home opener when attackman Drew Westervelt and short stick defensive midfielder Jeff Reynolds played in a 23-11 rout of the expansion Ohio Machine. Head coach Dave Cottle and general manager Brian Reese rolled the dice on Westervelt and Reynolds and were rewarded when their indoor team, the Philadelphia Wings, lost in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) playoffs.
The Bayhawks gained the services of two other players from the indoor professional league when the Colorado Mammoth lost on Saturday. Cottle said this week that high-scoring attackman John Grant, Jr. and long-stick midfielder John Orsen, both of whom played for the Mammoth, have been activated and could play in Saturday’s home game against the Rochester Rattlers.
Grant is one of the greatest players in MLL history, a former Most Valuable Player and three-time Warrior Offensive Player of the Year. Cottle called Orsen one of the league’s “best kept secrets” and said he can play either long pole or short stick midfield.
Chesapeake has also activated goalkeeper Kip Turner, who was unavailable for the first two games of the season. The former University of Virginia standout was the 2010 MLL Goalie of the Year while with the Boston Cannons, but lost the starting job last season to Jordan Burke. The Bayhawks acquired Turner through the Expansion Draft.
Rookie T.C. DiBartolo started the season opener against Long Island and was outstanding with 15 saves in anchoring a 13-11 win. DiBartolo didn’t fare as well in the first half against Ohio, prompting Cottle to put veteran Joey Kemp between the pipes in the second half. The Notre Dame product stopped 10 shots and allowed just two goals, making a strong statement for the starting job.
“It was an outstanding outing for Joey. He saved 83 percent of the shots he saw and really settled us down defensively,” Cottle said. “Kip Turner will be at practice on Thursday. We have good competition at the goalie position. We’ll look at all of them in practice then make a decision.”
Chesapeake (2-0) has displayed plenty of firepower offensively so far, firing in 36 goals in two games. The Bayhawks have been led by the midfield trio of Kyle Dixon (13 points), Ben Hunt (9 points) and Steven Brooks (7 points).
“Our midfielders have played at a very high level. They are dodging hard and shooting hard,” Cottle said.
Danny Gladingis leading the attack so far with 6 points while Westervelt contributed two goals and an assist in his Bayhawks debut last Saturday night. Chesapeake is still looking to get Ben Rubeor, who tied for the team scoring lead last season with 27 points, has just two goals so far and could start coming out of the box more often in a midfield role if Grant, Jr. joins the attack.
Cottle said the close defense of Michael Evans, Barney Ehrmann and Brian Spallina must learn to trust each other better and believes that will come as the unit gains a better grasp of defensive coordinator Tony Resch’s rules for sliding, helping and doubling.
All three starting close defensemen drew personal foul penalties in the first half and that allowed Ohio to score three power play goals. Team management wanted the Bayhawks to be tougher and more aggressive on defense, but Cottle said the players need to know the line.
“We had six minutes of fouls and obviously that’s too much,” Cottle said. “The nuisance fouls have to stop. However, the playing hard and playing tough hits I can go for.”
After winning just six face-offs in the season opener against Long Island, Adam Rand rebounded to capture 22 of 33 draws versus Ohio. Rand got hot in the second half and won 12 of 14 face-offs to help Chesapeake dominate possession.
“Adam was the unsung hero of the Ohio game. He had Alex Smith on the sideline to help him make adjustments and that proved beneficial,” Cottle said. “We feel comfortable with Adam in that role. The more experience he gets, the better he’s going to be.”
Rochester was routed by the Boston Cannons, 15-3, in its season opener on April 28th then had a bye last week. The Rattlers are gaining reinforcements for Saturday’s road game in Annapolis with All-Star attackman Ned Crotty having completed his NLL season, standout midfielder Matt Striebel returning from an injury and several other key players joining the active roster.
Crotty, a former Duke All-American, tied for the MLL scoring lead in 2011 with 50 points. He serves as Rochester’s offensive quarterback and is also a dangerous dodger from behind the cage. Head coach Tim Soudan said midfielder Dan Hardy and defenseman John Lade are two other indoor players who will be joining the Rattlers and also hopes to get a lift from two rookies in midfielder Roy Lang (Cornell) and defenseman Will Koshansky (Pennsylvania).
Kelly and Associates Insurance Group and KTBSPayroll are serving as the game sponsor for Saturday night’s matchup between Chesapeake and Rochester and will provide free frisbees to the first 1,000 fans entering Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Fans should remain in the seats following the final whistle for a postgame fireworks display.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.thebayhawks.comor over the phone by calling the box office 866-99-HAWKS (42957). Reserve your seat today and see the Bayhawks battle at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this summer.
For the Bayhawks full schedule go to www.thebayhawks.com.
|05/14/2012||Rattlers down Bayhawks Week Three Highlights|
|05/13/2012||Goalie Gabel Stonewalls Chesapeake, Lifts Rochester to 12-8 Win|
|05/07/2012||Kyle Dixon Named MLL Offensive Player of the Week|
|02/01/2012||Bayhawks 2012 Single Game Tickets ON SALE!|
|12/12/2011||CHESAPEAKE BAYHAWKS 2012 SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED|