Bayhawks succumb to Rattlers, 17-13

Turnovers costly as team slides into second place

Pro Lacrosse

July 11, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Just when the Bayhawks should be gearing up for another run at a Major League Lacrosse division championship, they are sputtering and stalling.

At home. Against division rivals. And with a makeshift lineup.

The Rochester Rattlers entered Johnny Unitas Stadium for the second time in less than a month last night and wrested the National Division lead from the sluggish Bayhawks with a 17-13 victory before 4,849 fans.

In their first game in three weeks, the Bayhawks (3-3) committed 22 turnovers, many of them unforced, and penetrated the Rattlers' defense and rookie goalie Tillman Johnson (St. Mary's High) only 10 times with three of their goals coming from two-point range. Only 25 of 54 Bayhawks shots were on target.

"We have to try something," said Bayhawks player-coach Gary Gait. "I don't think we've played well for three or four games. We have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we can do to make this team jell."

Three new starters were in the Baltimore lineup, including goaltender Rob Scherr (Johns Hopkins), who had 22 saves against a high-powered offense.

Scherr replaced Mike Levin as Gait experimented with personnel, but Josh Coffman scored six goals and the Powell brothers, Casey and Ryan, combined for six goals and five assists.

"We lost, so I'm not happy," said Scherr. "I was seeing the ball well and ate up the outside shots, but they're difficult to stop with the shooters they have."

Scherr was involved in the most crucial play of the game after Jeff Sonke's two-pointer cut the Rochester lead to 16-13 with 5:26 remaining.

As he tried to clear, Casey Powell intercepted and passed to Coffman, who hit a wide-open net to restore the lead to four.

"I made a save in tight and tried to get it out," said Scherr. "As soon as I released, I knew it was trouble. I definitely wanted that one back."

The Bayhawks are now 0-3 at Towson, where they moved this season from Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.

Mark Millon, who usually shines against Rochester (4-3), went without a goal in this game, constantly facing double teams. That ended a streak of 21 consecutive games in which he had scored a goal.

"I gave up two early two-pointers and then tried to get focused," said Johnson. "I wasn't seeing the ball as well as I did in the first game here [a 14-12 Rattlers' win], but the defense was outstanding."

Gait would not blame the layoff for the sluggish effort.

"Three weeks is a long time [without a game], but I don't think our play was any different than the two weeks before we were off. I don't know how you can't pitch and catch when you reach this league."

Rochester 6 3 5 3 - 17

Bayhawks 4 3 2 4 - 13

Goals: R-Coffman 6, C. Powell, 4, R. Powell 2, Shannon 2, Cassese, Rothfuss; B-Marechek 3, Gait 2, Marohl, Collins. Two-point goals: B-Frye, Sonke, Fulks. Assists: R-R. Powell 4, Cassese 2, Lindsay 2, Dougherty, C. Powell, Rothfuss, Shannon; B-Marohl 2, Millon 2, Combs, Gait. Saves: R-Johnson 15; B-Scherr 22. A: 4,849.

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