Bayhawks Rally to Outgun Hounds; Denver Finishes Unbeaten

ANNAPOLIS, MD Attackmen Ben Rubeor and Drew Westervelt combined for 12 points as the Chesapeake Bayhawks showed the heart of a champion by coming back from a big deficit to beat the Charlotte Hounds, 16-14, in a wild affair in front of 10,831 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Rubeor was named Player of the Game after scoring four goals and dished off two assists for Chesapeake (9-5), which clinched the second seed for Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend. Westervelt also had four goals and two assists for the Bayhawks, who trailed by five goals late in the third quarter.

"You kind of have to survive the assault and work the cut. We threw haymakers early and they survived it. They threw some in the second and third quarters and we survived," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. "This was a game about energy and effort, and I thought we showed both of them tonight."

John Grant Jr. contributed two goals and four assists as Chesapeake's starting attack piled up 18 points. Midfielders Matt Mackrides and Michael Kimmel totaled three points apiece for the Bayhawks, who closed the regular season by winning five of six games.

"This win says a lot about our team. We started off hot then they came back flying and had all the momentum, but we weren't about to lay down," said Kimmel, whose 2-point goal with 8:41 remaining in the game gave Chesapeake the lead for good. "We're a veteran group and knew how important this game was to the team. We wanted to dig down and show our fans a great performance in our last home game of the season."

Chesapeake, which has captured the Steinfeld Trophy two of the last three years, will take on third-seeded Hamilton (9-5) in the second semifinal (4:00 p.m.) on August 24th at PPL Park in Chester, PA. Top-seeded Denver (14-0), which completed the first unbeaten regular season in the 13-year history of Major League Lacrosse, will meet Charlotte (7-7) in the first semifinal (1:00 p.m.).

Chesapeake and Charlotte were fighting for playoff seeding with the winner avoiding Denver on the first day of Championship Weekend. It was a game of massive momentum swings as both teams had impressive scoring runs and lengthy droughts.

Goalkeeper Kip Turner made 13 saves and anchored a defense that did not allow the Hounds to score a goal over the final 25 minutes and 57 seconds of the contest. Trailing 14-9 with 10:57 left in the third period, the Bayhawks rallied despite getting beaten 22-10 on face-offs.

Chesapeake came storming out of the gate, firing in the first five goals of the game and doing so in impressive fashion. Rubeor opened the scoring with a left-handed crank shot then fed Westervelt for a sidearm rocket. Short stick defensive midfielder Jeff Reynolds scored in transition, Mackrides got loose inside for a goal while Kimmel stung the corner with a lefty laser from a low percentage angle.

However, Charlotte outscored the host team 3-1 down the stretch to pull within 6-3 entering the second period. Grant had an amazing behind-the-back goal for the Bayhawks during that stretch.

The Hounds cut it to 6-4 before the Bayhawks responded with back-to-back goals. Westervelt took a beautiful cross-crease feed from Rubeor and slammed it into the net then Grant found Rubeor cutting to the net to make it 8-4 with 7:10 remaining in the second stanza.

Matt White had a goal and an assist to start the comeback and fellow attackman Matt Danowski gave Charlotte its first lead with a 2-pointer with 11.3 seconds left, making it 11-10 at halftime.

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