CBS Sports Network lacrosse analyst Evan Washburn will provide color commentary during Saturday’s Major League Lacrosse semifinal between the No. 2 seed Chesapeake Bayhawks (9-5) and the No. 3 seed Hamilton Nationals (9-5) at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., and he took a few minutes to break down the game.
Washburn pointed out that Chesapeake’s 5-1 record in its past six games has been fueled by a share-the-wealth philosophy on offense. The unit has averaged 8.0 assists (48 of the 83 goals scored) in the last six contests. In the previous eight games, the offense averaged 6.3 assists (50 of the 111 goals scored).
“Chesapeake needs to play team offense,” Washburn said. “It sounds simple, but Chesapeake has really struggled with it this year. They’ve done it in spurts. … They have so many good players, and they play unselfishly on offense, but their unselfish brand of lacrosse has been more of a situation where it’s, ‘OK, it’s John Grant’s time to dodge. Then it’s Drew Westervelt’s time and then Kyle Dixon’s time.’ They need to share the ball, pass it around the horn, dodge and redodge. When they do that, they’re very good.”
Hamilton has split its past six contests, including ending the regular season with back-to-back losses. Over that span, opponents averaged 13.2 goals; that's an increase from 12.4 goals in the first eight games.
Washburn said the Nationals must fill in the gaps on defense to advance to their third final in the past five seasons.
“Their defense has looked really bad the past couple of weeks,” he said. “I think Brett Queener in goal has struggled. He got pulled in the game against Denver, and the week before against Charlotte, he wasn’t seeing the ball well. Hamliton has really struggled with guarding the ball behind the goal with their short-sticks. Their short-stick defense has been pretty bad, and they’ve struggled guarding pick plays behind the goal.”