Chesapeake Looks to Get on Winning Track at Home
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Head Coach Dave Cottle has a laundry list of things the Chesapeake Bayhawks need to improve on following a disappointing season-opening loss to the Boston Cannons. Speaking on the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) teleconference, Cottle discussed team defense, midfield offense, attack chemistry and special teams as areas the team needed to address prior to the home opener against the New York Lizards at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Cottle and the rest of the coaching staff can make adjustments and personnel moves to solve the technical problems that cropped up last Sunday, however, Cottle said that the biggest change that needs to take place this Saturday night (7:00 p.m.) is the way the players approach the game.
"Boston outplayed us from beginning to end and we looked like a pedestrian lacrosse team," Cottle said. "We did not bring the type of energy, effort and toughness that it takes. In order to be successful, we need to bring those attributes to the table. We need to come out on Saturday night and play Bayhawks lacrosse."
After falling 15-9 to Boston, things don't get any easier for Chesapeake as New York comes to town on the heels of an impressive 18-15 defeat of the Rochester Rattlers. Attackman Rob Pannell scored six goals while midfielder Max Seibald totaled three goals and an assist for the Lizards.
"If we play defense the way we did last week, New York could score 100 goals on us," Cottle said facetiously. "Seriously, we will need to elevate our play in all areas or else we're going to be 0-2. We have to focus on the Bayhawks this week. We have so many things we need to fix."
One positive to come from the opener was the play of newly-acquired attackman Brendan Mundorf, who totaled six points on three goals and three assists. Chesapeake will have a potent attack duo when Mundorf pairs with former UMBC and Denver Outlaws teammate, Drew Westervelt, however that is at least another week away from happening. Westervelt, who led the Bayhawks in scoring last season, is a member of the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and has a playoff game this Saturday night.
Cottle moved Matt Mackrides, the team's leading midfielder scorer in 2013, to attack to replace Westervelt. Mackrides scored a goal, but did not look totally comfortable in that role. Chesapeake claimed attackman Grant Catalino off the Rochester practice squad and Cottle is considering starting the powerfully-built 6-foot-5, 225 pounder on Saturday night.
"We'll see how Grant looks at practice on Friday night then make a decision. Matt Mackrides can certainly play attack, but I think he is definitely more effective working at midfield," Cottle said.
Midfielders Cameron Holding (Colorado Mammoth) and Joe Walters (Rochester Knighthawks) along with defenseman Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton Rush) are also unavailable this weekend due to the NLL indoor playoffs.
New York has the top faceoff specialist in MLL in Greg Gurenlian, who owns a sterling (1,049 for 1,871) career winning percentage. That will be a critical area on Saturday and Cottle said Chesapeake will continue to use a three-man rotation of Adam Rand, Stephen Peyser and Brian Megill.
Starting goalkeeper Kip Turner was forced to leave the season opener after taking a hard shot to the groin. Turner had swelling in the subsequent days, but reported that he was feeling better around midweek. Cottle said he would see how Turner is moving during practice before deciding on a starter for Saturday night.
"The good news is that Tyler Fiorito, who had only played in one other game for us, got some valuable game experience. I think Tyler is going to be a good goalie in this league," Cottle said.
Cottle said Chesapeake needs increased production out of the offensive midfield, which scored just two goals against Boston. Kyle Dixon, Ben Hunt, Steven Brooks, Michael Kimmel and company need to "run by" defenders, the third-year head coach said.
"I think our middies are good enough to beat people, create and force slides," Cottle said. "We need that to happen in order to make the whole offense work."
New York Lizards Head Coach Joe Spallina, whose younger brother Brian is a starting close defenseman for Chesapeake, expects to see a completely different team on Saturday night.
"Chesapeake is the two-time defending champion and there is a lot of pride in that locker room. I'm sure they don't like what happened last weekend and are going to be very motivated to turn things around," Spallina said. "The Bayhawks have their backs against the wall a bit and I'm sure we are going to get their best shot."
The Bayhawks 2014 Season Tickets are now available and can be purchased over the phone by calling the box office 866-99-HAWKS (42957). Visit us at www.thebayhawks.com for the full schedule. This season, the Bayhawks and Lexus are giving away an ES350 to one lucky Season Ticket Holder at the last game of the season. Every Season Ticket purchased will amount to one entry into the giveaway.
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