Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle preaches to his team the importance of starting fast and finishing strong. He got his wish on both counts Saturday in Annapolis.
The Bayhawks (5-1) raced out to a big lead and cruised to a 15-7 Major League Lacrosse win over the expansion Charlotte Hounds (1-5) before an announced 8,192 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.
Drew Westervelt scored four goals and assisted on another for the Bayhawks. The win, combined with Boston's 13-10 loss to Long Island, puts Chesapeake alone atop the eight team league. The Bayhawks will host Boston on June 23 in Annapolis.
The victory was the third straight for Chesapeake, whose only blemish is a 12-8 loss to Rochester on May 12 .
One of the major reasons for the victory was the faceoff prowess of Adam Rand. The midfielder won 19 of 26 faceoffs for Chesapeake, allowing the Bayhawks to dominate possession.
"He really set the tone for us," Cottle said. "Those faceoff wins helped us to put a lot of pressure on their defense. We didn't play especially well in the second half, so those wins were big for us."
The Bayhawks came out firing ,scoring 3 minutes, 3 seconds into the game when Matt Mackrides fired a high shot from 10 yards that eluded Hounds goalie Joe Marra for a 1-0 lead. Westervelt scored the next two goals, giving the Bayhawks a 3-0 lead 5:10 into the game.
After Charlotte got one goal from Brian Carroll to cut the margin to 3-1 with 3:45 left in the first quarter, the Bayhawks scored the next four (by Westervelt, Daniel Hostetler, Jeff Reynolds, and Mackrides) to finish the first quarter with a 7-1 lead.
The Bayhawks outshot Charlotte 21-5 in the first quarter.
"We always want to start off quick," said Westervelt. "As a veteran, sometimes I think we need to make the game simpler. A lot of our goals [Saturday night] were very simple. We also had some of our rookies step up, too, which was good to see."
The second quarter wasn't as dominating, but it didn't have to be. The Bayhawks got goals from John Grant, Jr., Ben Rubeor, Kyle Dixon, and Westervelt, to outscore Charlotte 4-3 and take an 11-4 lead into the half. Rubeor has scored at least one goal in 22 consecutive games.
The teams traded goals in the third quarter, with Stephen Berger scoring for Charlotte and Steven Brooks scoring for Chesapeake, to give the Bayhawks a 12-5 lead after the quarter.
Danny Glading, Grant, Jr. and Brooks added goals in the fourth quarter for Chesapeake.
Cottle said he likes what he sees from his team but knows they have a ways to go.
"It's good [to be in first place] now," Cottle said, "but we still haven't played our best. I thought Hamilton was our most complete game, and I thought we played well [Saturday] for a half. We're at about 60 percent efficiency. If we can improve upon that, we'll be a really good team who's tough to beat."
Chesapeake 15, Charlotte 7
Goals: CHA – Berger 2, Boltus, Miller, Amidon, Carroll, Danowski; CHE - Westervelt 4, Mackrides 2, Brooks 2, Grant Jr. 2, Dixon, Rubeor, Glading, Reynolds, Hostetler. Assists: CHA – Danowski 3, Boltus, Miller; CHE – Westervelt, Adams. Saves: CHA – Marra 3, Ghitelman 14; CHE – DiBartolo 10, Kemp 3. Half: CHE, 11-4. Attendance: 8,192
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