BayHawks Host Outlaws on School Pride Night for Regular Season Finale
ANNAPOLIS, MD - A large contingent of local students will watch the Chesapeake Bayhawks close out another successful regular-season this Friday for School Pride Night.
Last week, to help celebrate education and learning in advance of School Pride Night, the Bayhawks donated over 60,000 tickets to elementary and middle schoolers in the Anne Arundel County Public School System. Students who received a ticket in this donation will be able to redeem their pass and watch the Chesapeake Bayhawks fight against the Denver Outlaws for the first-place spot and top playoff seed in Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
In addition to the donated tickets, Anne Arundel Country Public School high schoolers are able to attend for free and watch the game by presenting a valid student ID at the Bayhawks' ticket booth. Parents of Anne Arundel County Public School students can use the exclusive promo code located on the back of the donated tickets to receive a special discounted rate to purchase additional game tickets. The promo code can be redeemed at thebayhawks.com/tickets. For any questions on this promotion, please email [email protected] or call 866-99-HAWKS.
The Bayhawks (9-6) will no doubt feed off the energy and enthusiasm of the many students in attendance as they host the Denver Outlaws (9-6). Both teams have clinched berths in the postseason, but the winner of this game has the potential to become Major League Lacrosse's top-seeded team for MLL Championship Weekend.
A victory coupled with a Boston loss would give Chesapeake the top seed for the MLL Championship Weekend semifinals, being held October 4th at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on the University of Denver's campus.
"We have a lot of motivation going into this game. We want the number one seed and we'd like to get to ten wins," Chesapeake Head Coach Dave Cottle said.
Earning the highest seed would benefit the Bayhawks in terms of practice and game times for the playoffs, Cottle added. Chesapeake would play fourth-seeded Atlanta in the first semifinal on Friday night (7:00 PM ET, second game at 10:00 PM ET) and therefore have more rest going into the championship game on Sunday (1:00 PM ET at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO).
"Whichever team gets Denver is playing a road game against the two-time defending champion," Cottle pointed out. "That said, there is no easy matchup. All four of the playoff teams are very capable of winning it all."
Chesapeake is looking to close the regular season on a two-game winning streak after defeating Denver on the road last Saturday night. Another win over the Outlaws would give the Bayhawks positive momentum going into the postseason.
Cottle believes the Bayhawks have gotten better as the season progressed and the statistics bear that out. Chesapeake leads Major League Lacrosse in fewest goals allowed (182) due largely to a defensive unit led by Jesse Bernhardt.
Bernhardt is one of the leading candidates for Warrior Defensive Player of the Year. Last weekend, Bernhardt added to his already stellar résumé by breaking his own franchise record for caused turnovers with 19.
"I think Jesse Bernhardt has been best defenseman in league. He's been a tremendous leader and has elevated the entire unit with his experience and communication," Cottle said. "Jesse is strong man-to-man and is also outstanding off the ball. He does a great job of getting the ball off the ground and is a factor in transition."
Bernhardt is joined on close defense by third-year professional Chris Fennell and rookie Warren Jeffrey.
"Chris Fennell has been outstanding all season long. I think Chris is grossly underrated," Cottle said. He added that Jeffrey should be a leading contender for Cascade Rookie of Year, complimenting Jeffrey's strength, grit and physical playing style.
Long stick midfielders CJ Costabile and Greg Danseglio along with short stick defensive midfielders Isaiah-Davis Allen and Nick Manis form one of the best defensive midfields in Major League Lacrosse. Costabile, Davis-Allen and Manis are all 2019 MLL All-Stars and Danseglio is a 2019 Warrior Defensive Player of the Year nominee alongside Bernhardt.
"Our defense has really come together, and I really like the way we're playing on that end of the field," Cottle said. "We're making it very difficult for teams to score. Every goal is earned."
Chesapeake has dramatically improved its performance on special teams (extra-man offense and man-down defense). Cottle said the Bayhawks still must upgrade their overall groundball play, faceoff performance and goaltending.
Attackman Lyle Thompson has been an offensive force for Chesapeake, setting the franchise records for points (73) and goals (46). Both marks were previously held by standout attackman Mark Millon. Thompson is a finalist and frontrunner for both the Coca-Cola Most Valuable Player and New Balance Offensive Player of the Year honors.
"In my mind, Lyle has been the most impactful player in league. He's one of the best pure goal-scorers, one of the best passers and one of the best riders I've ever seen," Cottle said. "What Lyle does for our offense is immeasurable. He creates so many double-teams that it opens things up for everyone else."
Cottle pointed to a sequence in last Saturday's game against Denver as an illustration of the type of player Thompson has been. Thompson was stopped on a crank shot by a goalie save, but hustled in transition to intercept the attempted clearing pass out of midair. Thompson then immediately fired a long pass to left-handed attackman and Cascade Rookie of the Year nominee Andrew Kew for a point-blank opportunity that produced a goal.
"Lyle will do anything for the team and that play was all about determination and effort," Cottle said. "It also showed his instincts, field awareness and vision."
Attackman Steele Stanwick, the quarterback of the Bayhawks offense, stands seventh in Major League Lacrosse with 49 points on the strength of 27 assists. Attackman Colin Heacock has put together a second-straight strong season with 41 points while ranking second on the squad with 33 goals.
Chesapeake made several personnel moves in recent weeks ahead of this game - promoting short stick defensive midfielder Mike Unterstein, faceoff specialist Tyler Barbarich and two-way midfielder Michael Panepinto to the Active Roster. Defenseman Zac Prattson and midfielder Colton Watkinson have both been placed on the Practice Squad while offensive midfielder Brendan Bomberry has been placed on the World Games Inactive List.
Chesapeake returns home for their final game of the season on Friday, September 20th at 8:00 PM ET at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. This game will be School Pride Night and fans are encouraged to wear attire from their favorite middle school, high school or university. The Lexus Tailgate opens at 5:30 PM ET.
Tickets for that game are available at thebayhawks.com/tickets. They can also be purchased through the Chesapeake Bayhawks Ticket Office at 866-99-HAWKS or by contacting [email protected]
Tickets to the Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend in Denver, CO are available as well.
Images from this story
Chesapeake BayHawks fire a goal past the Denver Outlaws
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from September 19, 2019
- BayHawks Host Outlaws on School Pride Night for Regular Season Finale - Chesapeake Bayhawks
- Denver Outlaws to Face off against Chesapeake BayHawks in Regular-Season Finale on Friday Night - Denver Outlaws
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