When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Outlook: In the span of one year, the Bayhawks and Hounds have gone from fighting for the Major League Lacrosse title to battling for the right not to be called the worst team in the league. The loser Saturday will receive the top slot in January's college draft, though the Hounds traded their first-round pick to the franchise that is now the Florida Launch for Josh Hawkins (Loyola Maryland). That No. 1 pick is expected to be used on Albany attackman Lyle Thompson, who set the NCAA single-season points record this year (128).
Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle said during Wednesday's coaches' conference call that if his team gets the No. 1 pick, it will look for an attackman, though he stopped short of saying he would select Thompson; he also said he would consider trading the pick. There is also a chance that league expansion could affect the draft order. After the Hamilton Nationals moved last year and became the Launch, reports said the league wanted to field a new team in Hamilton as soon as 2015. Meanwhile, the MLL has been eyeing expansion into the Atlanta area, though nothing is official on either front yet.
Saturday will be a homecoming for Old Mill and Loyola graduate Justin Ward, who leads the Hounds in assists (20) and points (32) despite playing in just nine games. Mike Sawyer, who played with Ward and Hawkins on Loyola's 2012 NCAA championship team, has a team-high 23 goals, including three 2-pointers.
For Cottle and the Bayhawks, this game is a chance to evaluate younger players such as goalie Jack Runkel (Loyola), who moved from third string to backup after starter Kip Turner broke a thumb, and attackman Jimmy Dailey (Stevenson, Winters Mill), who hasn't played this season. The Bayhawks and Hounds enter the game tied for the fewest goals this season (141). Charlotte won their other meeting this season, 12-7 on May 10.