By Max Jacobson | 6/6/12 3:00 PM
Watch & Follow: Syndicated TV: WMYT, CSN Mid Atlantic, Brighthouse (6/11 12:30pm), ESPN3, Live Blog, MLL Radio
The Big Picture: The Chesapeake Bayhawks will host the Charlotte Hounds for the first time on Saturday, June 9th at 7 p.m. (ET). The Hounds dropped to 1-4 after a late run by the Nationals sparked an 18-17 victory over Charlotte last week. The Bayhawks look to continue their recent success this season after an 18-16 win over the Outlaws last week. Chesapeake improved to 4-1 on the season and entered into a tie for 1st place in the standings with the Cannons.
This is the first time in the Hounds brief history that they will take on the Bayhawks. This match-up will be revisited next on Saturday, July 7th in Charlotte.
Charlotte Hounds: After a couple of disappointing finishes for the Hounds in the past few weeks, Head Coach Mike Cerino hopes that his team will be able to hold on and come out on top this weekend. “We need to focus on paying attention to detail,” says Coach Cerino. “A groundball here and a key face-off there can make a difference.”
4-time MLL All-Star, Matt Danowski has struggled with his efficiency around the net. Although he has 5 goals and 9 assists through 4 games with the Hounds, Danowski has a shooting percentage of just .119. Coach Cerino added, “He’s trying to do everything he can to help us out but it’s just not clicking for him right now. If he’s shooting to his average, maybe our team is in a different position at this point.”
Goalie Adam Ghitelman continues to work hard in the cage for the Hounds. Last week, he saved 14 shots after replacing Mark Manos in the second quarter but was unable to recover from 8 goals allowed by Manos in the first that put the Hounds in a deep hole. “Our most consistent guy has been Ghitelman. He’s been ready to go every game and has been battling for us,” says Coach Cerino. The return of injured goalie Joe Marra provides the Hounds with two solid options in the cage against a high-powered Bayhawks offense.
Players to Watch: Midfielder Stephen Berger leads the Hounds on the offensive end and comes off a strong performance against Hamilton last week in which he recorded 3 goals, including a 2-pointer and 2 assists. Berger is currently third in the league in scoring with 21 points. Attack Jeremy Boltus, the 2011 Cascade MLL Rookie of the Year, provides Charlotte with a scoring spark as well and has displayed the ability to score in bunches. Last week against the Nationals he scored 3 goals and added 2 assists. Midfielder Jovan Miller appears to be getting more comfortable in the Hounds offense after coming up with a hat trick in last week’s loss to Hamilton. Keep an eye on the long-pole duo of Ryan Flanagan and Ricky Pages who look to contain the Bayhawks potent offensive attack.
Chesapeake Bayhawks: The Bayhawks understand that each game in this league presents difficult challenges and you cannot overlook any team. Head Coach Dave Cottle hopes to keep his team focused on taking out a talented Hounds team that features a number of dynamic playmakers.
The Bayhawks midfield line is comprised of a few talented stars themselves. Kyle Dixon currently leads the league with 7 2-point goals and will continue to attack from long range. Coach Cottle says, “2-pointers are a point of emphasis for us. If you shoot 20% on 2’s then it’s like shooting 40%. We’re definitely not afraid to take them.”
Another key strength of the Bayhawks has been their goalkeeping. Kip Turner, the 2010 Warrior Goalie of the Year, has performed sensationally in his first season with the Bayhawks. Last week in Denver, Turner saved 10 shots against the Outlaws aggressive attack. Coach Cottle added, “He has helped us with his seasoning and veteran leadership and we are lucky to have him.”
Players to Watch: Midfielder Kyle Dixon is currently second in MLL in scoring with 22 points after a 3 goal, 2 assist performance in Denver. He is joined on the midfield line by Steven Brooks who scored the game-tying and winning goal last week on his way to being named the Bud Light Player of the Game. Veteran attackman John Grant Jr. has been an effective addition to the Bayhawks since being traded to Chesapeake from the Lizards in the offseason. Through his first two games with the Bayhawks, he has totaled 7 points on 3 goals and 4 assists. Dan Hostetler leads the Bayhawks defensively and currently has 19 ground balls on the season.
Next Match-Up: The Hounds next game will be at home against the Cannons on Saturday, June 16th at 7 p.m. ET. The Chesapeake Bayhawks host the Hamilton Nationals on Saturday, June 16th at 7 p.m. ET.