Coach Kelly Wants Chesapeake to Close Season with Four-Game Winning Streak
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Chesapeake Bayhawks head coach
Brendan Kelly received an unexpected, but welcome phone call following last Saturday night’s victory over the Rochester Rattlers. Told going into the game that his team could not clinch a spot in the playoffs, Kelly was instead informed by Major League Lacrosse (MLL) officials that indeed the Bayhawks had earned one of four berths into Championship Weekend.
That news was met with cheers by the Bayhawks players, who believed they had to win their regular season finale in order to reach the playoffs for the second straight season. However, Kelly said the fact Chesapeake has qualified for postseason play will not change the team’s mindset going into this Saturday night’s home game against the Denver Outlaws.
We’re not satisfied with just getting into the playoffs. That’s not how the Bayhawks think,” Kelly said. “We’re the defending champs and our goal is to repeat. We’re starting to play our best lacrosse and we want to keep the momentum going, want to continue to work on our chemistry.”
Chesapeake (6-5) can secure the second seed in Championship Weekend by beating Denver at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. That would enable the Bayhawks to avoid a semifinal matchup with top-seeded Boston, which swept the regular season series between the teams. If Denver (6-5) wins, it would get the second seed and Chesapeake would fall to No. 4.
“There is no talk that this game doesn’t mean anything. It means a tremendous amount and we are approaching it that way,” Kelly said. “This weekend is a tone-setter for the playoffs. I really don’t care who we get in the semis because you have to beat everybody to win the championship, but you want to go into the playoffs on a positive note. We plan on finishing the season with a four-game winning streak.”
Chesapeake management made a bold decision to change the team’s style of play prior to the Rochester contest. Kelly and assistant coach
Dave Cottle decided the Bayhawks should pressure the ball on defense and try to create more transition opportunities.
“We believe we have the deepest, most athletic team in the league and we need to get out and run. We want to create turnovers then push the ball from offense to defense,” Kelly said. “To win in this league, you need to open teams up. It is very hard to score six-on-six.”
Chesapeake implemented that new philosophy to perfection last Saturday night with close defenseman
Kyle Hartzell and long stick defensive midfielder
Jake Deane playing huge roles. Hartzell scored two goals, including a 2-pointer while Deane contributed a goal and an assist. Short stick defensive midfielders
Matt Abbott and
Jeff Reynolds also had big games as the Bayhawks got a total of eight points out of defenders.
Kelly said the unsung heroes of the Rochester game were offensive midfielders
Ben Hunt and
Steven Brooks. Those three wound up playing a considerable amount of defense in order to help Chesapeake with its new fast break attack.
“Dixon, Hunt and Brooks played tremendous defense against Rochester. They all made a commitment to be two-way middies again,” Kelly said.
Chesapeake also got a lift on close defense from
Bray Malphrus, a rookie out of Virginia who was outstanding in his professional debut. Kelly said Malphrus will start again this weekend alongside Hartzell and
“Bray did a great job on Saturday night. He came in and solidified the defense and made us more athletic,” Kelly said.
Chris Garrity started between the pipes for the first time since suffering an injury during the third game of the season. The two-month layoff didn’t seem to affect Garrity, who responded with 14 saves in three quarters of action.
“It’s good to see Garrity healthy again and back to his old form,” Kelly said. “Garrity is a championship goalie so expect to see him back in the cage on Saturday night.”
Denver is led offensively by attackman
Brendan Mundorf, the third-leading scorer in the MLL with 37 points. Mundorf works well with former UMBC teammate and fellow attackman
Drew Westervelt (21 goals).
“Mundorf is a dynamic player who can take over a game while Westervelt and (Peet) Poillon are both great shooters,” Kelly said. “Denver definitely has a lot of firepower.”
Jesse Schwartzman, who leads the MLL with a 10.25 goals-against average, anchors an Outlaws defense that has been riddled by injury. Veteran starter
Eric Martin is on injured reserve, projected starter
Ken Clausen is on the physically unable to perform list while All-Star
Lee Zink has missed two games.
“It’s a real credit to Denver to overcome so many injuries and still make the playoffs,” Kelly said. “Denver is a veteran team that is well-coached.”
Kelly feels just as strongly about his squad and said the Bayhawks need to close the 2011 campaign the same way they did the 2010 edition. “August is our month. We look at the season in quarters and this is the fourth quarter,” he said.
Chesapeake returns home for their last game of the 2011 regular season on August 13
th when they take on the Denver Outlaws. Come early for the Bud Light Tailgate and stay after the game for the post-game fireworks! Don’t miss out on all the fun at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
2011 Home Schedule
May 14th vs. Rochester Rattlers W (14-10)
June 25th vs. Boston Cannons L (17-10)
July 2nd vs. Rochester Rattlers W (13-10)
July 23rd vs. Long Island Lizards L (15-8)
July 30th vs. Hamilton Nationals L (16-6)
August 13th vs. Denver Outlaws 7:00 PM
August 27th MLL Semifinals 12:00 PM & 3:00 PM
August 28th MLL Championship 3:00 PM
Bayhawks season tickets can be purchased online at
www.thebayhawks.comor over the phone by calling the box office 866-99-HAWKS (42957). Reserve your seat today and see the 2010 MLL Champions battle to defend their title at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this summer.