As Matt Ward signed autographs on the sideline after his first career Major League Lacrosse hat trick last night, he was faced with an uncommon question.
"Where'd you go to school?" a woman asked the Bayhawks attackman, who is less than two weeks removed from winning the national championship with Virginia.
The final four most valuable player and Tewaaraton Trophy winner took it in stride. It was his first home game with the Bayhawks, and maybe introductions were necessary.
But they no longer should be, as Ward's three goals and rookie goalie Greg Havalchak's 17 saves led the Bayhawks to a 14-9 win over the Rochester Rattlers in front of 3,431 at Johnny Unitas Field.
"We had five new guys, and I think everyone was real frustrated [with the 22-15 loss in their first game at New Jersey]," Ward said. "But we knew it was just going to take time to gel offensively and get used to our new goalie."
For the second straight game, and the third time this season, the Bayhawks (2-3) got off to a slow start offensively, scoring just four goals in the first half. The difference this time was that Havalchak and the defense held down a talented offensive unit.
"I think we kind of got into a hole last week," Havalchak said after just his second game in net since joining the team from Rutgers. "We didn't really have any momentum or runs."
Last night, the run came late. Attackman Mark Millon scored three of his four goals in the second half, including a power-play goal less than a minute and a half into the fourth quarter that gave the Bayhawks a 9-8 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Fellow veteran Tom Marechek added a pair of goals in the next five minutes, as the Bayhawks had the final five tallies of the game.
The slow start could have been costly if not for a defensive unit that stymied former Maryland All-American Joe Walters and a Rochester team (2-3) that had scored in double figures in each of its previous games.
"This league is all about defense," Millon said. "We played such great defense and Greg Havalchak played awesome tonight. It really helped our offense out."
And until the veterans got going, it was Ward, who went to The Landon School in Bethesda, who paced the offense. His two first-quarter goals gave the Bayhawks a 2-1 lead - one that only stood because of strong goaltending by the new goalie.
"I feel like I can be consistent," Havalchak said. "I want the guys to have faith in me defensively, and it takes a few games to instill that in them."
The fans may not have yet that faith - or the correct biographical information - but the veteran Bayhawks know they have the talent to bounce back from a tough start.
"I think we're a pretty good team," Millon said. "If we can get a couple wins early, I think we can be really dangerous toward the end of the year because of the young guys."
Bayhawks 2 2 4 6 - 14
Rochester 1 4 3 1 - 9
One-point goals: B-Millon 4, Ward 3, Marechek 3, McGlone 2, Mollot, Keysor; R-Walters 2, Schiller, Goldberg, Shannon, Hoar, Grant Jr., Unterstein, Cassese. Assists: B-Millon 3, Mollot 3, Ward 2, McGlone, Marechek; R-Merrill 2, Grant Jr. Saves: B-Havalchak 17; R-Levin 13. Attendance: 3,431.