An 8-7 double-overtime loss to the Rochester Rattlers a week ago left the Chesapeake Bayhawks with their fifth defeat in six games. But the play of the defense planted a few seeds for hope.
The unit allowed a season low in goals and also limited a Rochester offense that had scored 18 goals in a rout of the Florida Launch on June 1. Chesapeake goalkeeper Kip Turner, an Annapolis native and Severn School graduate, made a season-high 18 saves.
“Rochester scored 18 goals the week before, and we held them to seven through overtime,” Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle said during a league-wide conference call on Wednesday. “So I thought we did do some much better things defensively, and just as importantly, I thought our goalie played an outstanding game, too. So in that case, I thought we moved in the right direction defensively.”
Several defensemen vacuumed ground balls to stop Rattlers possessions. Nicky Polanco led all players with eight ground balls, Jesse Bernhardt (Maryland) and Brian Megill each collected five ground balls, and Jason Noble scooped up three ground balls in his MLL debut.
“I thought our defense played much, much better,” Cottle said. “Much better on the ground, much better from defense to offense that we didn’t take advantage of. At 4-4 at half, we probably had five or six unsettled breaks that we didn’t score on for whatever reason. But I thought for the first time, it was a game that we lost that we were actually competitive in. So that was a positive.”
Chesapeake still ranks at the bottom of the league in goals surrendered (76) and man-down chances (34), and the team will clash on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis with a Boston Cannons offense that is tied with the Rattlers for third in the league in goals (72) and has averaged 13.7 goals in its last three games.