Bayhawks down Long Island, 13-9

Chesapeake wins 3rd title and first since 2005

August 22, 2010|By From Sun staff and news services

After a roller-coaster season that featured a five-game losing streak and after failing to even make the playoffs four straight years, the joy and emotion that poured out of the Bayhawks was to be expected.

Rookie attackman Brian Carroll and second-year midfielder Peet Poillon (UMBC) scored three goals apiece to lead a balanced offense, while second-year defenseman Michael Evans (Johns Hopkins) anchored a suffocating defense as a youthful Chesapeake Bayhawks squad knocked off the veteran Long Island Lizards, 13-9, in the Major League Lacrosse championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Midfielder Kyle Dixon (Archbishop Spalding) totaled two goals and an assist, and attackman Ben Rubeor had three assists for fourth-seeded Chesapeake (8-6), which went on a 5-0 second-half run to break open a back-and-forth game. Attackman Danny Glading added scored two goals for the Bayhawks, who captured the third MLL title in franchise history and first since 2005.

Chesapeake is one of the youngest teams in the MLL, with 10 of the 19 players who dressed for the championship game either rookies or second-year professionals. However, veterans such as Dixon, goalie Chris Garrity, close defenseman Shawn Nadelen (Johns Hopkins) and attackman Andrew "Buggs" Combs (St. Paul's) all made key contributions Sunday and were the first to take possession of the Steinfeld Cup.

"I'm just so proud of the players. I think about guys like Buggs Combs, Kyle Dixon and Chris Garrity, who have been with this organization for a long time and were so hungry for a championship. Those are our leaders, and I'm so happy we were able to win this for them," Chesapeake president and coach Brendan Kelly said.

Rookie midfielder Michael Kimmel (Johns Hopkins) had a goal and an assist during the decisive 5-0 run, which started with 44 seconds left in the third quarter and ended with 7:57 remaining in the fourth. The Bayhawks trailed, 8-7, when Poillon tied the game on a behind-the-back shot off a feed from Rubeor.

Chesapeake then took over early in the fourth quarter, with Carroll scoring two of his goals off hard crank shots and Dixon contributing a goal and an assist as the host team took a 12-8 lead.

"I think our depth showed today. It was real hot out there, and I think we wore down Long Island," Kelly said. "Running six midfielders for the last five games paid off. It didn't matter whose number was called, they all went out and performed well."

Tough defense anchored by spectacular goalie play from Garrity proved crucial on championship weekend as Chesapeake held a pair of potent offenses to nine goals each. Garrity made 10 saves against Long Island after recording 18 against top-seeded Boston on Saturday.

"I can't say enough about Chris Garrity," Kelly said. "He absolutely showed this weekend that he's the best goalie in this league. He made some amazing saves in both games and was really the difference-maker."

Evans also played a crucial role in the two upsets, limiting Boston attackman and MLL Most Valuable Player Matt Poskay to two goals and then holding Long Island leading scorer Matt Danowski to an assist.

"We had a great defensive game plan, and we executed it exactly the way it was drawn up," Evans said. "Matt is one of the best attackmen I've ever gone against, but I've covered him every year since I was a sophomore in college, so I'm real familiar with him. Today, I was fortunate to get the best of Matt, which doesn't happen very often."

Long-stick midfielder Kyle Hartzell (Salisbury) was another key cog, shutting out Boston All-MLL midfielder Paul Rabil (Johns Hopkins) and then also helping hold Long Island midfielder Stephen Berger (Mount St. Joseph) scoreless a day after he netted five goals in a semifinal victory over Denver.

"Michael Evans proved once again that he's a shutdown defender," Kelly said. " I don't think Danowski got a shot off. What he did this weekend in containing Poskay and Danowski is a big reason why we won the championship. I also can't enough about Kyle Hartzell and the job he did on two very dangerous midfielders. There's no doubt that defense was the difference this weekend."

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