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Grant, Jr. Returns to Lineup as Unbeaten Chesapeake Hosts Ohio

March 18, 2016
Annapolis, MD Legendary attackman John Grant , Jr.will be back in the starting lineup on Saturday night when the Chesapeake Bayhawks host the Ohio Machine at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Grant, one of the most prolific scorers in professional lacrosse – indoor or outdoor – will no doubt bolster an offense that has struggled somewhat through two games.

“Junior will be in the house on Saturday night,” Chesapeake president and head coach Dave Cottle said this week on the Major League Lacrosse teleconference. “Junior gives us another threat behind the goal. He is a great one-on-one dodger and will help us attack more regularly and successfully from behind.”

Chesapeake defeated the Rochester Rattlers, 17-14, in the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla. However, 10 of those goals came on 2-pointers by midfielders Kyle Dixon and Ben Hunt. The Bayhawks beat the New York Lizards, 9-3, in their home opener last Saturday night, but Cottle came away with areas that needed improvement. If not for a career-high seven goals from attackman Ben Rubeor, the Bayhawks would have lost 3-2.

“We’re 2-0, but we are not fooled by that record. We haven’t played real well to date and have a lot of improvement to make,” Cottle said.

When asked what was missing with the offense so far, Cottle responded in typically blunt fashion. “Three things are missing: throwing, catching and shooting.”

To be fair, Cottle said the overall offensive play in Major League Lacrosse after two weekends worth of games has not be all that stellar. Most of the teams have not been at full strength with some players still playing professional indoor ball with the National Lacrosse League.

“We’re all struggling with guys coming back from indoor or from off-season layoffs. As I watch film of other games, I see that the offensive play around the league hasn’t been really great,” he said. “Things will get better with each game and I’m sure by this time next month the level of offense will be much higher across the board.”

One player the Bayhawks would like to get going is midfielder Steven Brooks, the team’s second-leading scorer in 2012 with 36 points during the regular season. Brooks has been held without a goal on 0-for-9 shooting in the two games.

“We will have to do some things to get Steven Brooks going. Steven has not played as well as he or we would like. We have to find a way to get him jump-started,” Cottle said.

Adding Grant to the mix will certainly help the entire offense. The left-handed Canadian is tied for third in Major League Lacrosse history with 371 career points. The powerful bull dodger who can shoot from any angle is sixth all-time in both goals (233) and assists (119).

Grant is coming off another tremendous indoor campaign with the Colorado Mammoth. Junior was named second team NLL All-Pro after ranking second in the league with 43 goals and fifth with 91 points.

Chesapeake could receive an additional offensive boost in the coming weeks as Casey Powell completes a two-game suspension for playing in a non-sanctioned event. Powell, whose 399 career points is the most in MLL history, will be eligible for the May 18 th contest at Boston.

“We will put together a plan for when Casey is going to play. You will see Casey Powell in a Bayhawks’ uniform this season,” Cottle said.

Ohio opened its season last Saturday with a 13-8 loss to Denver despite 12 saves by goalie Stefan Schroder along with two goals each from midfielders Jeff Ledwick and Eric O’Brien. The Machine were led in scoring last season by attackman Chazz Woodson, who totaled 38 points. Former Virginia All-American Steele Stanwick is another attack threat while Jimmy Connolly (27 goals in 2012) is a dangerous midfield scorer. Former Maryland All-Americans Max Schmidt and Ray Megill team up with former Bayhawks’ standout Kyle Hartzell to form a solid defense.

“Chesapeake has an awesome team with so many weapons out there on offense,” Ohio head coach Ted Garber said. “We need to get possession of the ball and we need to score. I think we have a veteran defense that is going to be solid against anybody, but in this league you need to have the ball and you need to put points on the board.”

The Bayhawks return home on Saturday, May 11 th against the Ohio Machine at 7:00 PM at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.thebayhawks.comor over the phone by calling the box office 866-99-HAWKS (42957).