They may be young, but the Bayhawks can't be accused of being slow learners.
Asked two weeks ago what he has tried to teach the Bayhawks' seven rookies, veteran midfielder Mark Frye (Loyola) said he expressed how much easier it is to erase a deficit in Major League Lacrosse.
Trailing by three in the final five minutes last night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Bayhawks proved that point with a thrilling 17-16 overtime win against the New Jersey Pride to pull out of last place in the Eastern Conference.
The comeback began with a two-point goal from Casey Connor (Maryland) and culminated when rookie midfielder Bill McGlone tied the score with six seconds remaining. Attackman Mark Millon gave the Bayhawks (4-5) their second straight win when he beat Pride goalie Rob Scherr (Johns Hopkins) 52 seconds into overtime.
"Today's a perfect example of what Mark as been preaching to us," McGlone said. "In this league, the game is never out of reach."
Leading by one with 50 seconds left, New Jersey had possession when Bayhawks coach Scott Hiller decided to pull rookie goalie Greg Havalchak - who had 12 saves in the final 30 minutes.
Back came starter Matt Russell (Navy), another first-year player, who took advantage of his quickness and chased down the loose ball after an errant New Jersey shot.
With one final opportunity, rookie Brendan Healy carried the ball up the left side of the field and found his former Maryland teammate McGlone open on the right for the game-tying goal.
And though Russell helped set up the goal with his hustle, Havalchak likely regained the starting role with his play in the second half.
Havalchak's presence made an instant difference, as New Jersey's attack suddenly couldn't find the net. The Pride (3-6) had scored 10 times against the 5-foot-7, 156-pound Russell, including four times in a span of 2:31 at the end of the first half. But New Jersey scored only once in the third, bouncing several shots off the 6-1, 225-pound goalie.
Havalchak lost the starting job after surrendering nine goals June 16 in Rochester and injuring his knee, but Hiller said after the game that the Rutgers graduate likely would start next week in Philadelphia.
"I was just so anxious to go out there and play my game," said Havalchak, who was told to begin warming up in the final minutes of the second quarter.
With the San Francisco Dragons (5-3) losing last night, the difference in the Bayhawks' play is showing up in the standings, where the team has an outside shot at the league's final playoff spot.
"We've just got to keep winning games," Hiller said. "We're still in it." firstname.lastname@example.org
New Jersey 6 4 1 5 0 - 16
Bayhawks 3 4 6 3 1 - 17
One-point goals: NJ-Hubbard 3, Banks 2, Chemotti 2, Ford 2, Boland, Corno, Doneger, Ghedina, Grinnell; B- Mollot 3, Ward 3, Boulukos 2, Healy 2, McGlone 2, Millon 2, Marohl. Two-point goals: NJ-Banks; B-Connor. Assists: NJ-Ford 3, Corno 2, Boland 2, Wright, Doneger, Raymond; B-Dixon 3, Collins, Gillette, Millon, Mollot. Saves: NJ-Scherr 13; B-Russell 7, Havalchak 12. Att: 3,167.