CHARLOTTE, NC —
After posting a 7-7 record in only their second season of play, the Charlotte Hounds clinched the fourth and final seed of the 2013 playoffs after defeating the Hamilton Nationals 14-11 three weeks ago at American Legion Memorial Stadium in
Charlotte. However, the season’s work isn’t over yet, as the Hounds face arguably the best team in Major League Lacrosse history, the undefeated Denver Outlaws, August 24th in Philadelphia. The last time the two teams met was on June 29th, when the Outlaws came out on top 17-11. Although, the scoreline doesn’t tell the story, the Hounds held a 5-4 lead until a penalty-ridden second quarter allowed the Outlaws to go on a 6-0 run before halftime.
If the Hounds want a chance at beating the Outlaws, the main key to the game is going to be DISCIPLINE. In their last game, they let penalties get out of hand, and that would eventually cost them the game. Last time the Hounds visited Denver, co-captain Matt Danowski racked up FOUR penalties. Denver’s man between the pipes and MLL goalie-of-the-year, Jesse Schwartzman, had 27 saves in the June 29th meeting, partially in part to poor shot selection by the Hounds.
Danowski, who went 2-for-14 shooting on June 29th, is going to have to play with discipline and set an example for the team’s younger players, many of whom have never played in a playoff game before. Mental mistakes are not acceptable in the playoffs, and Hounds will have to play smart if they have any chance at beating the Outlaws.
By playing smart, and having big games from attackmen Matt Danowski, Ryan Young, and Eric Lusby, the Hounds could have a shot at the biggest upset in MLL history.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Feeling like he has to carry the whole team on his back, Danowski tries to take all of the teams shots, and goes 4-for-20 shooting. Frusturated by the amount of time they’re spent on defense, long-poles Joe Cinosky, Ryan Flanagan, and Brett Schmidt grow reckless and begin committing unnecessary fouls, and the Outlaws score half of their goals on power-plays.
FINAL: Hounds: 12, Outlaws: 22
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Hounds’ head coach Mike Cerino stresses good shot selection in the practices leading up to the game. The Hounds most efficient shooter (.445) Ryan Young, leads the team in goals by taking high-percentage shots. Speed demon Josh Hawkins dominates the transition game, and the Hounds successfully clear nearly every shot saved by Adam Ghitelman. Danowski tries not to force his shots, and keeps the Denver defense on their toes by looking for other players cutting, and records five assists. Mike Sawyer loses his shooting slump (.143 shooting) and records a couple two-point goals with that 114mph shot.
FINAL: Hounds: 16, Outlaws: 14