Mundorf, Schwarzman lead comeback as Denver captures regular season title
ANNAPOLIS, MD- Midfielder
Kyle Dixon scored four goals and piled up seven points, but it was not enough as the Chesapeake Bayhawks fell to the Denver Outlaws, 15-13, before a crowd of 10,420 last night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Dixon fired in a pair of 2-point goals, increasing his Major League Lacrosse single-season record in that category to 14.
Brendan Mundorf totaled five points on three goals and two assists while goalie
Jesse Schwartzman made 15 saves as Denver rallied from an early five-goal deficit to capture the third regular season championship in franchise history. Rookie attackman
Mark Matthews had three goals and an assist for the Outlaws (11-3), who set a franchise record for victories and earned top seed for MLL Championship weekend.
“That’s a very talented offensive team and you have to cover them for 60 minutes,” Chesapeake head coach
Dave Cottle said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t keep playing at the level we did during the first quarter for the rest of the game.”
Denver will face fourth-seeded Long Island (8-6) in the opening semifinal (1 p.m.) on Aug. 25
th at Harvard Stadium in Boston. Chesapeake (10-4) receives the second seed and will take on No. 3 Boston (9-5) in the second semifinal (4 p.m.).
“It definitely feels good to get that number one seed and play in the early game,” said Mundorf, who was named Bud Light Player of the Game.
Ben Rubeor and
Drew Westervelt scored two goals apiece for Chesapeake, which missed a chance to set a franchise record for victories. Attackman
John Grant Jr., joined midfielders
Ben Hunt and
Steven Brooks in totaling a goal and an assist for the Bayhawks, who were seeking their first regular season championship since 2005.
“It’s a little annoying and very frustrating,” Chesapeake goalie
Kip Turner (11 saves) said of the missed opportunities. “On the other hand, it’s good for everyone to know on our team to know that we have to work even harder over the next two weeks in order to accomplish our ultimate goal.”
Dixon and Westervelt both scored two goals while Grant had a goal and an assist as Chesapeake raced to a 7-2 lead after one quarter. Dixon fired in a 2-pointer and also scored on a left-handed rocket while dodging down the alley. Attackman
Ben Rubeor scored the team’s first goal, extending his streak of notching at least one point to 29 consecutive games. Grant wowed the crowd with a nifty behind-the-back goal.
However, the Outlaws came storming back in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7 on the strength of five unanswered goals. Attackman
Chris Bocklet scored two goals while Matthews had a goal and an assist during the rally.
Chesapeake was short-handed on defense as starters
Brian Spallina and
Dan Hostetler all sat out for various reasons.
Barney Ehrmann and
Tim Kaiser replaced Evans and Spallina on close defense while
John Orsen and
Mike Simon filled in for Hostetler and Ehrmann as long stick midfielders.
Dixon opened the third quarter scoring with his second 2-pointer of the night, connecting from beyond the arc at the 10:28 mark on a power play. That snapped a scoreless drought of more than 21 minutes for the Bayhawks.
Peet Poillon answered in kind for Denver, unleashing an underhanded shot from just beyond the top of the circle to tie the score at nine. It went back-and-forth like that the rest of the way with the teams pretty much trading goals as the score was also tied at 10, 11, and 12 in the third period.
Denver finally seized control of the back-and-forth contest by scoring three straight goals to open the start the fourth quarter. Mundorf assisted
Jordan McBride for a goal then scored himself in a shorthanded situation on a spectacular play. Mundorf snared a long clearing pass from Schwartzman then raced directly to the goal and scored while leaping into the crease and despite having two defenders draped all over him. Schwartzman received a rare assist for a goalkeeper on the goal, which was a major momentum changer.
Rubeor ended the 3-0 run with an unassisted goal to pull Chesapeake within 15-13, but the home team would get no closer as Denver succeeded in salting away the remainder of the clock.
Chesapeake face-off specialist
Alex Smith played for the first time all season and wound up winning 9 of 18 draws. Smith started off 1-for-5 on face-offs, but captured 7 of 13 in the second half to show that he could help the team in the playoffs.
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