Over the next nine days, we will be looking at the top nine stories of the year in lacrosse, based off of our most read and covered stories. Today is #2 with the Chesapeake Bayhawks MLL championship.
Two pro lacrosse teams with the name “hawk” in their nickname earned back to back championships this season. One of those teams was the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who conquered Major League Lacrosse with a championship win over the Charlotte Hounds.
The Bayhawks went 9-5 in the regular season for the second seed in the MLL playoffs. Drew Westervelt had a big year with 48 points, while Ben Rubeor broke out as a top scorer with 41 points. Kip Turner played the third most minutes in net for any MLL goalie, and he was second with a 10.35 goals against average.
Chesapeake opened the season at 3-0. They defeated Rochester by three in opening weekend before blowing out New York and Ohio in back to back weeks. They then lost two in a row; one point games to the Boston Cannons and Hamilton Nationals. They would lose three more times, to playoff teams Denver twice and Charlotte.
The Bayhawks opened their playoff run against the Nationals, the third seeded team. They barely got by them with a 13-12 win. Chesapeake scored five times in the fourth quarter to the Nats’ one goal to take the game. The game winning goal came from Michael Kimmel, who led the ‘Hawks with four points.
Then they advanced to face the upstart Hounds. Charlotte had defeated Denver in the first round, a team that had gone 14-0, the first undefeated team in MLL history.
Charlotte took a 1-0 lead but then the Bayhawks took a 3-2 lead after one quarter. They held a 5-2 lead at halftime, but it was far from over. Charlotte would never take the lead and the closest they got was the final score, 10-9.
Westervelt and John Grant Jr each scored four points in that game to lead the team while Turner made fourteen saves. Brian Spallina won his record fifth MLL title, and the Bayhawks won their fifth championship, the most in MLL history.