CHESTER, Pa. -- After a physically and emotionally draining 13-12 victory over the Hamilton Nationals in Saturday’s semifinal of the Major League Lacrosse playoffs at PPL Park, the Chesapeake Bayhawks probably won’t have to do much studying on their last opponent of the 2013 season.
That’s because the No. 2 seed and reigning league champion tangled with the No. 4 seed Charlotte Hounds on Aug. 10, emerging with a 16-14 decision at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. So the offense that Charlotte likes to run and the defense likes to employ should still be fairly fresh, right?
“Familiarity helps with knowing all their guys,” acknowledged midfielder Michael Kimmel, a Loyola Blakefield and Johns Hopkins graduate. “But there’s only eight teams in the league, so we know each other pretty well. It’s going to be the same thing as today. It’s going to come down to a last-second goal from someone.”
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Midfielder Mike Sawyer (Loyola) earned Player of the Game honors for his four-goal performance in lifting the Hounds to a 17-14 upset of the top-seeded and previously undefeated Denver Outlaws, but he had some assistance.
Faceoff specialist Geoff Snider won 17-of-25 draws and scored a goal, and goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman made 17 saves. Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle called Charlotte “explosive.”
“Goalie gets hot and when he gets real hot, he’s really good,” Cottle said of Ghitelman. “You’ve got to get on him early. [Rookie midfielder Jake] Tripucka’s the guy that has really brought his game to another level. They’re a bear to guard. We played really well for three quarters – as well as we’ve played all year – and only won 16-14. So we’re looking for a high-scoring, up-and-down game, and we need to find a way to negate some of the faceoff damage there.”