ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Bayhawks' offense might strike fear into the opposition's hearts, but last night the team rode its defense to a 10-7 win over the Rochester Rattlers that earned a second straight Nationals Division championship in Major League Lacrosse.
"We're happy to have that," said Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano, "but what we really want is the MLL championship. This is just a first step."
The Bayhawks are guaranteed to play host to an MLL semifinal at Ravens Stadium, the opponent and date to be determined.
On a night when scoring was in short supply, Cattrano's 16-save night was critical. His stop on Rattlers defender John Glatzel early in the fourth quarter was one of his most crucial saves, as it preserved a one-point lead.
"He's been tremendous all season," said Bayhawks player/coach Gary Gait. "He really set the tone for the whole defense tonight."
The Bayhawks (9-4) have held opponents to single-digit scoring in five of their wins; Rochester's output last night was its lowest of the season.
"He is a definite candidate for league MVP," Gait said of Cattrano.
Gait contributed three goals, including one with 12:38 left in the game that sent the Bayhawks on a decisive, 4-1 fourth-quarter finishing kick.
The Baltimore attack was frustrated for large stretches of the first half, yet managed to hold a 5-4 intermission lead. Up 2-0 less than five minutes into the game, with Tom Marechek finding the net both times on rushes down left wing, the Bayhawks were able to score just once more in the next 23 minutes. Rochester (5-7) had effectively clogged up the scoring lanes.
"We didn't finish our chances very well," said Gait. "Rochester is a team that likes to play you tight, anyway, and they were doing that effectively."
Mark Millon, who shredded Rochester for six goals when the teams met in Baltimore last week, was held to just a handful of touches and no points.
The Bayhawks will wrap up the regular season Aug. 15 at New Jersey.
Bayhawks 3 2 1 4 - 10
Rochester 2 2 1 2 - 7
Goals: B- Marechek 3, Gait 3, Sims 2, Willis, Shek; R- Co. Kahoun 2, Coffman, Cr. Kahoun, Powell, Driscoll, Fay. Assists: B- Cantabene 2, Sims, Sonke, Willis, Collins Blatchley; R- Powell 3, Co. Kahoun 2, Watkins, Cr. Kahoun. Saves: B- Cattrano 16; R- Dougherty 14. A: 3,821.
Next for Bayhawks
Opponent:New Jersey Pride
Site:Commerce Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater, N.J.
When:Thursday, 7:30 p.m.