Bayhawks Subdue the Outlaws to Claim MLL Championship

Midfielder Steven Brooks scored two goals and assisted two others for Chesapeake (12-4), which secured its second MLL crown in three years. Attackman Danny Glading contributed two goals and an assist for the Bayhawks, who dominated possession and outshot the Outlaws 55-38 in the contest.

“Going into today, I was very confident that we were going to play a great game. This is the first team I've ever coached that we didn't need to trick anyone to win. We had great talent, great character and great chemistry. All we had to do was execute and we would win,” Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. “Coming into the tournament, I thought we had the best team on paper and we proved that on the field this weekend. I'm really proud of the players for putting together two great performances on back-to-back days.”

When it was over, all the Bayhawks coaches and players piled into a mosh pit on the field while posing for pictures and taking turns hoisting the Steinfeld Trophy. It was the second title in the three-year ownership of Brendan Kelly, who sported a broad smile as he hugged every single coach and player afterward.

“You join the Chesapeake Bayhawks to win championships. We don't play to just get into the playoffs, we play to win the title,” said Evans, an All-MLL selection. “Brendan Kelly and Dave Cottle put together something special this season. We had great group of players who are all winners and understood what it took to win a championship.”

Attackman Ben Rubeor was named Most Valuable Player of MLL Championship Weekend after scoring eight goals in two games. “Benny is such a high character guy with tremendous intangibles. He's a great teammate who cares so much about winning and does all the little things. Those little things turned into a lot of big things this weekend.”

Turner was a brick wall in the postseason, totaling 26 saves to stymie the two top-scoring offenses in the league this season. Barney Ehrmann, Dan Hostetler and Mike Simon handled long stick defensive midfielder responsibilities while Matt Abbott, Jeff Reynolds and John Orsen were the short stick defenders as Chesapeake set an MLL Championship Weekend record by allowing just 16 goals to Boston and Denver.

“Our goalie really stepped up in this tournament. I think from the second quarter of the semifinal on, he was the best player in the tournament,” Cottle said. “Defensively, we started winning our individual match-ups and that meant we didn't have to slide so much. We were able to play solid, straight-up defense because we weren't scrambling around, which was crucial. I really felt Mike Simon was a difference-maker. He gave us the final piece of the puzzle.”

Attackman John Grant Jr. and midfielder Michael Kimmel scored two goals apiece for Chesapeake, which won the ground ball battle by outhustling Denver. Face-off specialist Alex Smith was sensation for the second straight game, capturing 17 of 25 draws while working against Anthony Kelly and Stephen Robarge.

Smith's performance backed up the confidence that Cottle showed in him. Adam Rand capably handled face-offs all season for the Bayhawks while Smith recuperated from elbow surgery. Smith, who ranks fourth all-time in the MLL with 903 career face-off wins, was also a force in the semifinals – winning 13 of 17 draws in the first half.

“We had a tough decision to make, whether to dress 19 or 20. The only way we could dress 20 was to sit down Alex,” Cottle said. “We talked about it and decided we had the greatest face-off man in the history of the game. We just had a feeling that he was going to dominate, and that's exactly what he did.”

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