Considering the closely tied paths Barney Ehrmann and Dan Hostetler traveled the past four years, it doesn't seem strange that the Major League Lacrosse rookies wound up teammates on the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
Ehrmann (Gilman) and Hostetler (River Hill) both played key roles on their football, basketball and lacrosse teams during high school.
Both hail from families with strong ties to professional football.
Both eschewed football and decided to play lacrosse in college.
Both picked Georgetown.
And tonight, the two defenders will both look to help the Bayhawks (5-4) pull closer to a playoff berth as the team hosts the Hamilton Nationals (5-4) at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.
The Bayhawks, Nationals and Denver Outlaws are all even in the standings. But the Bayhawks currently sit in second place, thanks to two close regular-season wins at Hamilton and a victory in their lone game against Denver.
While the Bayhawks hope to defend their MLL championship this season, the team's two backline rookies are still becoming acclimated to professional lacrosse. Hostetler has made two appearances this season, both in wins against the Nationals.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Ehrmann is second amongst the team's defenders with 14 ground balls and has earned substantial playing time over the past four or five games, coach Brendan Kelly said.
"They're both great athletes, they're both great players," Kelly said. "We feel like, down the stretch, not just this year, but in the years to come, they will be a big part of our success with the Bayhawks organization. We were real happy to pick up both in the draft."
For Ehrmann, the decision to pursue lacrosse — and not football — wasn't easy. The seeds of such a decision may have been planted by his father, Joe, who was a defensive lineman for the Baltimore Colts for eight seasons and didn't want his son to experience the painful reminders of football he still does on a daily basis.
"I wasn't allowed to play any football until seventh grade, and really he didn't even let me start then," Ehrmann said of his father. "He would know. He just didn't want us to get injured, me and my brothers.
"It was actually a really tough decision between the two. Lacrosse, I played my whole life and football I really just started to enjoy [in high school]. It made the decision a little bit tougher, but in the end I just chose lacrosse because I liked the lifestyle a little bit more."
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Hostetler faced a similar dilemma during high school and reached the conclusion to stick with lacrosse at "the last moment."
With so much in common, Ehrmann and Hostetler were excited to continue their partnership after graduating in the spring.
"Once I found out [Dan] was going to the Bayhawks too, it was pretty sweet," Ehrmann said. "It made the transition a lot easier, having a kid on your team who you're already familiar playing with, going to practice with you on the first day. It was a pretty big relief."