Game 6 Preview: BayHawks Return to Dallas for Rattlers Rematch
ANNAPOLIS, MD - With their two-game weekend behind them, the Chesapeake Bayhawks turn their heads towards Sunday's matchup against the Dallas Rattlers in Frisco, Texas.
Last time the two teams met, Dallas was able to get an early jump on Chesapeake, amassing a 7-3 lead. This was not enough though, as Colin Heacock, Nick Mariano, and Lyle Thompson all registered hat tricks to fuel a comeback effort. First-year midfielder Brendan Bomberry scored the game-winning goal as the Bayhawks left with a 14-11 win for the first game of their season.
Since then, the two teams have gone in opposite directions. The Dallas Rattlers have fallen to 0-6 in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) standings, worst in the league. Ryan McNamara and Bryce Wasserman both have proven to be skilled players who can tally points, but the team cannot rely on them alone. Rookie Lucas Wittenberg, who tallied five points (4G, 1A) against the Bayhawks in his MLL debut, has gone silent since, not registering a single point.
Goalie Christian Carson-Banister, who gave Chesapeake difficulty early in the June 2nd meeting, has regressed, but still provides Dallas with a chance to win. There is a possibility that Sean Sconone, one of the league's more frequently used backup goalies, could start.
In contrast to Dallas, Chesapeake has only improved since June 2nd. They have not been perfect, losing twice, but boast a 3-2 record which puts them 1.5 games back from the first place Outlaws. The Bayhawks have also received tremendous offensive performances from players like Thompson, the veteran Steele Stanwick and recently signed rookie Andrew Kew.
Kew, a rookie attackman from the University of Tampa, broke out on Sunday against the Blaze, scoring four goals. This performance was only bested by Lyle Thompson's five goal output. In his MLL debut against Denver on July 4th, the Oakville, Ontario native scored his first-career goal and registered an assist.
To add to this offense last week, Head Coach and General Manager Dave Cottle lassoed in midfielder Ryan Keenan from Dallas in exchange for Adam Osika. This will be Keenan and Osika's first games against their former teams.
Keenan, an offensive midfielder from Penn State, had a tremendous first week with the Bayhawks, tallying three total points (2G, 1A). The shifty midfielder's debut week was highlighted with a difficult cross-crease pass to Steele Stanwick which resulted in a goal against Denver's Dillon Ward.
In addition to former Rattlers joining the Bayhawks is Greg Danseglio. Danseglio played one game for the Rattlers this season before being waived by the team. Cottle, seeing the defenseman become available jumped at the opportunity to add him to his roster. The ex-Terp saw considerable playing time in Week 6 due to unavailability and injury on the Chesapeake defense. Danseglio played excellently, collecting six groundballs and causing one turnover in the two-game stretch.
Danseglio's emergence came at the perfect time since the Bayhawks will be without defenseman Warren Jeffrey this week. Jeffrey will sit his one-game suspension this week as a result of the events in the July 6th game against Atlanta.
In addition to Danseglio, it is expected that Coach Cottle will look toward Nick Manis to step up and contribute at close defense. Manis, who primarily plays as a short stick defensive midfielder, has swapped his usual stick out for a long pole multiple times this season. This is nothing new to the Maryland alum, who did the same throughout his college career, including during the team's 2017 NCAA National Championship run. The Bayhawks will also look towards Denver graduate and long stick midfielder Sean Mayle for help at close defense.
Behind the defense stands Niko Amato, who has played much better than his save percentage may show. Routinely, Amato has fought off shots from all angles to put his team in a position to win. Amato is also one of the league's best goalies regarding rebound control. Of the league's goalies who have appeared in five or more games, Amato has the least number of rebounds given up with 37. His clean saves, 25, are the second best in the league and trail only Austin Kaut, who has appeared in one more game than Amato.
Adding to their roster on Tuesday, the Bayhawks added faceoff specialist Noah Rak. Rak was acquired in exchange for defenseman Matt Borges and a 5th Round Draft Pick in the 2020 MLL Collegiate Draft.
Kenny Massa has been one of Major League Lacrosse's best faceoff specialists so far this season. With 50 wins on 94 draws, the Bryant graduate ranks third in faceoff win percentage (.532), ranking only behind Greg Puskuldjian of New York and Max Adler of Denver.
Things are seeming to line up perfectly for Chesapeake as they hope to claim their fourth win of the season. To watch the Bayhawks in Dallas on July 14th at 4:00 PM EST, tune into MyTV Baltimore, Stadium or MajorLeagueLacrosse.com/Watch.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks will then return to Annapolis on July 20th at 7:00 PM for their Chesapeake Celebration Night against the New York Lizards. Tickets for this game are available at thebayhawks.com/tickets or can be purchased through the Chesapeake Bayhawks Ticket Office by calling 866-99-HAWKS or emailing [email protected] Come early for the new Lexus Tailgate, starting at 4:30 PM, featuring music, a photo booth, games for kids, and complimentary Bud Light for ticket holders 21 and older.
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Chesapeake BayHawks midfielder Nick Mariano
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