The Chesapeake Bayhawks upset the top-seeded Boston Cannons in the 2010 Major League Lacrosse semifinals and went on to win the championship. They met in the semifinals again last year, and the Cannons rallied from an early five-point deficit and scored the game-winning goal with 1.2 seconds remaining.
Now, here they go again.
Second-seeded Chesapeake (10-4) will meet third-seeded Boston (9-5) in an MLL semifinal for the third consecutive year, this time on the Cannons' home field at Harvard Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Fourth-seeded Long Island will play top-seeded Denver at 1 p.m. in the other semifinal. The championship game is Sunday at 3 p.m. at the same venue.
After beating the Bayhawks at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in last year's semifinal, the Cannons went on to defeat Hamilton for the Steinfeld Cup.
The Bayhawks wasted a 6-1 lead in that meeting and allowed Max Quinzani's winning goal with 1.2 on the clock. It's not the Ravens-Steelers or Yankees-Red Sox just yet, but there's a something brewing between the teams.
"I think there's a great rivalry that's happened over the years between Boston and Chesapeake," Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle said. "We're excited to play them."
Cottle noted that his team isn't using last year's loss as the big motivating point. No matter what the history between the two teams might be, Boston is simply the opponent that's next on the Chesapeake schedule.
It just happens to come at playoff time once more.
"Each year, every team is different," Cottle said. "Our goal is to win a championship and to do that, we have to beat Boston."
The teams certainly know each other well. In addition to the dramatic playoff games of the past two seasons, they split two meetings this year.
Chesapeake beat Boston, 14-13, in Annapolis on June 23. Former Cannons goalie Kip Turner made 17 stops that night. Boston won, 16-13, behind eight points froom Ryan Boyle on July 28.
Turner came to the Bayhawks this season after playing for the Cannons from 2007-2011. Boston coach Steve Duffy said his players have plenty of respect for their former goalie.
"I'm happy for Kip and his success," Duffy said. "We know he's a good teammate. We know he's a good player. It's tough to go up against Kip."
It will also be tough for Chespeake to go up against Boyle and MLL Offensive Player of the Year Paul Rabil. Rabil, a former Johns Hopkins star, finished with 58 points and scored five points in Boston's win over the Bayhawks.
"He's driven to win," Duffy said. "He's driven to be the best."
Chesapeake has more balance on offense and a dangerous midfield, led by Kyle Dixon, who paced the Bayhawks with 48 points and set a league record with 15 two-point goals.
Midfielders Michael Kimmel and Steven Brooks both added 36 points. Drew Westervelt (33) and John Grant Jr. (32) also pitched in on attack.
Cottle said specialty units also could be a key in this game. If either team gets an edge in areas like extra-man play or faceoffs, that could prove crucial.
The Cannons also have the home-field advantage, but Cottle shrugged off any notion that it will affect his veteran group.
"One thing we have is mature and experienced players," Cottle said. "If we had an inexperienced team, a young team going into that environment, I'd be more concerned."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun