ANNAPOLIS – The Chesapeake Bayhawks finally got some revenge against the defending Major League Lacrosse (MLL) champion Ohio Machine who had previously won three straight matches. With a smothering defense and tremendous hustle, the Bayhawks dominated the champs by a score of 13-8 to win their third consecutive game on June 2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
“The thing I was the most proud of was the effort. Matt Rees ran out five shots. Niko Amato got one and how many second chances did we get off of ground balls? We gave great effort today, and I told them they had to look in the mirror because the effort is about you, you, you and you. You’ve got to make sure that everyone knows that you are making effort plays.” Chesapeake Bayhawks Head Coach Dave Cottle said.
Former University of Maryland standout Colin Heacock started off the scoring just over three minutes into the game. Ohio answered the goal quickly to tie the game at 1-1 before the Bayhawks took advantage of some sloppy play by the Machine who scored three unanswered goals for a 4-1 lead midway through the first.
“I think it started with Stephen Kelly in the faceoffs; he really got us going. Then you see the defensive side with guys like Matt Rees just diving after shots and getting possessions was huge for us. Niko Amato playing real big in the cage and working off of his energy they continued to give us more opportunities on the offensive side, and it was a great outcome,” Heacock said, who finished the game with a hat trick and an assist.
Ian MacKay added a two-point bomb to make it 6-2 for the Bayhawks, and Chesapeake took a 7-2 lead into the second quarter. The Bayhawks managed to keep the pressure on the Machine the entire second quarter as they built a commanding 10-2 lead going into halftime.
“We managed to shut them out in the second and third quarter, but we still haven’t played a full 60 minutes, and we’ve got to get better at it. But most of the teams in this league are losing off the bye and for us to put a win up after the bye is a compliment to our players,” Cottle said.
The Bayhawks kept up the pressure throughout the third quarter as they frustrated and stonewalled the Machine on the defensive end. The Machine was held scoreless since 6:23 of the first quarter and went into the fourth quarter looking for answers trailing 11-2.
“They’re very rangey, long, athletic, mean, physical and I have nothing but great things to say about those guys,” Amato said of his team’s effort.
“We are a young unit, and we are trying to get comfortable with one another and trying to buy in and make the next jump as an elite defense,” he added.
The Machine got on the board to start the fourth ending a monumental 40-plus minute scoring drought. Ohio tried to rally late to make the game interesting but could not pull close enough falling to the hometown Bayhawks 13-8.
The Bayhawks will be heading to Ohio next week to face the Machine again and conclude their home-away series for 2018. The Bayhawks will be home for five of the remaining seven home games of 2018 after starting the year with five of the first seven contests on the road.
“Going on the road allows you to grow as a team, but it doesn’t allow you to improve as a team because we don’t have enough guys to scrimmage. We were happy to get some full field stuff in where we can do some more things, and it helped us. We credit our guys for getting closer on the road, but now they have to get better and improve at home,” Cottle said.
“We’ve won the last three games, and we are seeing these guys next week, and we can right our wrongs and improve in the second half. But a win is a win in this league,” said Bayhawks midfielder Myles Jones, who added two goals and an assist.