Midfielder Kyle Dixon of the Chesapeake Bayhawks shoots his… (Patrick Smith, Getty Images )
Kyle Dixon of the Chesapeake Bayhawks changed his jersey number before Saturday's home opener in tribute to a long-time friend who died last week.
Dixon switched from No. 11 to 5 and then paid his friend another tribute on the field against the Ohio Machine. The former Virginia All-American scored four goals — including three 2-pointers — and added three assists in a 10-point night that helped Chesapeake to a 23-11 victory over Ohio before a franchise-record 10,152 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Dixon changed to the number 5 to honor the memory of John Petrovick, a high school teammate of his at Spalding, who died last Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. The funeral was Friday.
"I bounced back a little mentally from last week," Dixon said. "He was a great kid, and I'm glad to honor him with this number."
Dixon's three 2-pointers made him the MLL's all-time leader with 36. He also became the eighth player in league history to score three 2-point goals in a game. One of his third-quarter goals also was the 100th of his career.
Three of Dixon's four goals came in the second half as Chesapeake (2-0) pulled away and turned a close game into a rout.
The Bayhawks struggled in the first half, were called for four penalties and allowed two extra-man goals as the expansion Machine (0-1) faced an 11-9 deficit at the break. But everything changed in the second half.
Chesapeake coach Dave Cottle replaced T.C. DiBartolo in goal with Joey Kemp to start the second half. Kemp made 10 saves in the final two quarters, allowed just two goals and helped the Bayhawks pull away.
"It was fun to step in there," Kemp said. "The defense did a great job. It was really the guys in front of me."
Cottle said the move wasn't made because of DiBartolo's first half performance. He made the decision Friday night after DiBartolo went the distance in goal in last week's win in Long Island.Cottle said he wanted to put Kemp in as pay-off for all the work he'd done so far.
Kemp's play was just one of a number of things the Bayhawks did better in the second half.
"I think we wore them down a little bit," Cottle said. "We had six fouls in the first half; we played too much man down. [But] we dominated face-offs and then Joey Kemp in the second half made saves early…we got settled, then we played better defense."
Adam Rand also helped Chesapeake in the final two quarters. He had won 10 of 19 first-half faceoffs but took six of the third period's seven draws to help the Bayhawks maintain longer stretches of possession.
Rand won 12 of 14 in the second half as the Bayhawks outscored Ohio, 12-2, and controlled the game from start to finish. Overall, Rand won 22 of 33 draws..
"In the second half, we never got the ball," Machine coach Ted Garber said."They won all the faceoffs. With the shooters they have and the offensive guys they have, if we had the ball that many times, we'd score a lot, too. But we didn't have it."
Ben Hunt and Steven Brooks each finished with four goals and five points. They scored the first two goals of the second half, just 65 seconds apart, for a 13-9 lead. Danny Glading and Dixon followed with two more goals to stretch the lead to 15-9.
But the Bayhawks got the next six points to break the game open. Drew Westervelt's goal midway through the fourth quarter gave Chesapeake a 21-10 lead.