Chesapeake held its first pre season camp this weekend in Annapolis. Even though it was a little chilly, the team was having fun and spirited first workout. The team is coming into this summer looking for their third championship in three years.
Due to some National Lacrosse League players not in attendance, the team was not in full strength. There were some pieces missing as Brian Megill, Drew Westervelt, and Joe Walters were out due to the NLL schedule, just to name a few. Peet Poillon missed the session due to coaching commitments with Hobart, though Matt Abbott was able to attend after Colgate’s game. Brendan Mundorf was moving and shooting, but opted out of practice in pads.
The Bayhawks were having fun checking up with teammates like it was a reunion of sorts. There is a good chemistry with the team, even with the new additions to the roster. It was a good showing for the first time getting a chance to get ready for summer play. Coach Cottle has built foundation for the team success and makes no exception that the team comes first.
The morning session Saturday, as well as Sunday’s, was a scrimmage to where the team could get after each other. It was a way for the new additions to make their impact with the least friction. The attack was missing the most pieces but Chesapeake has great midfield depth. Even a few of the players played in swing role, in playing both midfield and attack.
The Saturday night practice had a great pace as the team built up to full field scrimmaging. After line drills, they built into two on two, then four on four, and five on four before finishing with a full field game. Facing off is going to be a concern for the Bayhawks as they have options, but no one who has taken the position as of yet. Adam Rand is the favorite and was working against JP Dalton largely.
The midfielders were almost in tact from last season’s championship run. Michael Kimmel, Steven Brooks, Kyle Dixon, Dan Burns, Jeff Reynolds, and Abbott all logged a lot of minutes in the game, showing their athleticism. Abbott played both offense and defense and truly is one of the best athletes this game has ever seen. Dixon is looking to break the rust after a slow 2013 summer. Kimmel is able to find the back of the net through some crafty dodging. Matt Mackrides played attack mostly, most likely due to the missing attackmen, but he was very good dodging and being able to handle in tight. Jovan Miller’s athleticism in getting up and down the field showed no signs of slowing down from his time at Syracuse.
The attack was a combination of players, but Mackrides had a good showing along with Ben Rubeor, Jimmy Dailey, and Jack Forster. Forster is coming into the professional ranks after a career at Penn State marred by injury, though he played very well in the various drills prior to the scrimmage. Dailey had the ability to break down his defenseman and maybe had the highlight of the night. Earlier in the drills, he drove above goal line extended, cut on a dime, tucking the stick underneath his falling defender, and stung one by the goalie. Even Coach Cottle marveled at the move. Rubeor does what he always has and was able to get tough goals through the defense. He is quiet and then is able to get through the defense for a timely goal.
The defense of the Bayhawks is a tough place for any opposing player to be comfortable. As soon as this unit gets on the field, the niceties of the sideline are gone and they are hunting. Brian Spallina kept the sideline loose during the stretching and early practice drills. Once the first face off commenced, it was survival of the fittest and Spallina still has the ability to be a factor on the field. Nicky Polanco also is still a force after all these years in the league. Michael Evans is a defender can be left on an island playing against his man. He was recently named to the National Team and he is a pit bull on the field. Jesse Bernhardt sat out of the contact drills and scrimmage, but he will certainly be a factor during the season for the team. Andrew Sellers ran pole for them exclusively and helped his team win draws, coming up with a couple fifty-fifty ground balls. Kip Turner was at home back lining the Bayawks defense. He started transition and made some key saves on shots in close.
The Bayhawks are a team that truly plays as a team. There are not really players that can take over the game as they succeed by playing as a team. That mantra of playing as a family and together they succeed. By their demeanor on the field and the sideline, they enjoy being out there with each other playing the game. It is a fun team to watch and when there is no one person dominating the team, there are moments from anyone that will impress you.