Chesapeake Bayhawks (1-1) at Charlotte Hounds (0-2)
3:30 pm Saturday, May 10
American Legion Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
TV: CBS Sports Network
The Game: The rematch of last year’s Major League Lacrosse championship game features two teams still trying to find some consistency, and still missing some key players because of coaching or playing commitments elsewhere.
The Hounds showed vast improvement on both sides of the ball last week, except in the final score in an 11-8 loss to the Florida Launch. Same for the Bayhawks, who won their first game of the season, 12-11 in overtime over the New York Lizards.
Charlotte will be without two key players from last year’s playoff run because of the NCAA Division I tournament: attacker Matt Danowski, an assistant coach at Duke; and goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman, an assistant at Harvard. However, the Hounds will have back long-stick midfielder Mason Poli and midfielder John Haus, and will add Towson attacker-midfielder Thomas DeNapoli—their second-round pick in the 2014 MLL draft—to the 19-man active roster.
Chesapeake, which has won the last two MLL championships, will be without midfielder Jesse Bernhardt, an assistant coach at Maryland, because of the NCAA tournament. Two others—midfielder Joe Walters and defender Kyle Rubisch—are with teams still in the indoor National Lacrosse League playoffs. In addition, midfielder Ben Hunt was put on the two-week injured reserve list after suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s game, and midfielder Jeff Reynolds may sit after injuring his leg in the Lizards’ game.
What the Bayhawks are saying: “Hopefully we can get closer together as a unit, get closer together as a team, and starting playing better. We’ve got to find a way to win with who we have. We’re 0-2 in Charlotte, so we’ve got to find a way to ramp up our play. They’re a lot like we are—they’ve got to find a way to win with what they have, too.”—Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle.
What the Hounds are saying: “We had some improvement in some areas of our game. We’re still struggling on offense, but it’s not for a lack of effort or communication as we try to find different combinations and different things that work. One of the dangers in that is when you don’t see success, you start to tinker. We have to be diligent and make sure we put the things that fit us best, and keep move forward that way. We want to keep moving forward, and start finding those results that way.”—Charlotte head coach Mike Cerino.
Prediction: Another close game for the Hounds, who are 2-2 all-time during the regular season against the Bayhawks. Of course, Chesapeake does have the edge in the postseason matchup, but there’s one other thing to consider: both of Charlotte’s wins have come at Memorial Stadium. Still, the advantage in this game goes to the Bayhawks, who will have attacker Drew Westervelt and former Hound midfielder Peet Poillon back in the lineup. That’s not good news for the Hounds, but keep this in mind: they started last season 1-3, and made it to the playoffs. Bayhawks 14, Hounds 12.