A depleted roster finally caught up to the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who had their seven-game winning streak snapped on a rainy Saturday night in Annapolis.
Attackman Matt Rambo and midfielder Kevin Cooper led a contingent of former University of Maryland standouts who lifted the Charlotte Hounds to a 20-10 rout of the Bayhawks before an announced crowd of 2,544 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Cooper scored four goals and assisted another while Rambo totaled a goal and three assists for Charlotte (7-6), which desperately needed the win to keep alive its playoff hopes.
“It was do or die. We knew this was pretty much a playoff game for us. If we lost this one we probably were going to go home so we knew it was time to step up,” Cooper said. “It was a big game for this team and we came out and set the tone from the beginning. I’m proud of the guys because it was a total team effort.”
Cooper, an Archbishop Spalding product who grew up in Crofton, was thrilled to play such a prominent role in the crucial victory.
“It feels great. I had over 15 family members in the stands, including my grandparents,” he said. “It was a special night for sure. It’s always good to come back home.”
Midfielder Mike Chanenchuk ripped a 2-pointer that highlighted a 4-0 run that gave the Hounds a commanding 11-2 lead late in the first half. Chanenchuk finished with five points on two goals and two assists.
Midfielder Tim Rotanz contributed three goals and an assist while attackman Dylan Maltz had a hat trick to complete the list of former Terrapins who starred for the visitors.
“It was Terp night all around. We have a lot of Maryland players and so do the Bayhawks,” Cooper said. “It’s a close brotherhood and there are always a bunch of us on both teams in every MLL game. We get after it when we go against each other and tonight it was the Charlotte Terps who got the better of things.”
Attackman Colin Heacock scored four goals for Chesapeake (8-3), which lost for the first time since May 3. Attackman Jay Carlson added a goal and two assists for the Bayhawks, who suffered their most lopsided loss since falling to Rochester 18-8 on June 11, 2016.
“I thought the Charlotte Hounds made every effort play and were more alert than the Bayhawks. They definitely got what they deserved,” Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. “Without question, the better team won tonight and we have to move on.”
It rained steadily throughout the contest with several torrential downpours making for difficult conditions.
We can’t make excuses. Charlotte was dealing with the same elements we were. They just outplayed us in all phases,” Abbott said. “It was one of those games when it seemed that nothing went our way. Bad offense lent itself to bad defense and vice versa. We have a short week with a game in Atlanta on Thursday so we need to put this one behind us in a hurry. Fortunately, we still control our own destiny.”
Chesapeake was without six starters for the second straight game due to the ongoing Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships.
Attackman Matt Danowski and close defenseman Jesse Bernhardt were both key members of the United States club that captured the world championship on Saturday morning in Israel. Attackman Josh Byrne and midfielder Ian MacKay played for Team Canada, which suffered a controversial 9-8 loss in the final.
Starting close defenseman Goran Murray was unavailable because he spearheaded the Jamaica entry, which made its debut in the FIL World Championships. Superstar attackman Lyle Thompson, who hasn’t played for the Bayhawks all season, represented the Iroquis Nation. Nate Lewnes, who started for the Bayhawks on July 7 and scored three goals against New York, played for the Greek national team.
Making matters even worse for the Bayhawks was the fact attackman Steele Stanwick and midfielder John Maloney were also unavailable for unknown reasons. That forced Cottle, who is also the general manager, to do some scrambling to field a representative squad.
Cottle picked up Carlson from the Major League Lacrosse player pool and claimed Brandon Mangan off the practice squad of the Ohio Machine. Both attackmen started on Saturday night as the Bayhawks patched together a makeshift unit in the absence of Byrne, Danowski, Thompson and Stanwick.
Smith, an indoor professional standout from Canada, made his second appearance of the season for the Bayhawks in the midfield. Chesapeake dug deep to bolster the close defense that was without Bernhardt and Murray, activating Matt Vernam for the first time.
Vernam, a 2012 graduate of the Naval Academy, had never played a single game of Major League Lacrosse. The 6-foot-2, 224-pounder is stationed at the academy these days and has been practicing with the Bayhawks for the past four weeks.
Chesapeake’s patchwork lineup did not get the job done on either end of the field. Defensively, the Bayhawks were a step slow all night and gave up some great looks against goalkeeper Niko Amato. Offensively, the Bayhawks were out of sync from start to finish and committed a slew of unforced turnovers.
“We coached the team that played tonight and we didn’t do a very good job, which is my fault. We have to do better with who we have,” Cottle said. “This was a combination of alertness, effort and coaching. We weren’t alert, we didn’t play with enough effort and I got out-coached.”
Amato had his worst outing of the season, stopping just six shots before being pulled in favor of Brian Phipps (Severn School) late in the third period.
Carlson, a St. Paul’s product who played for Cottle at Maryland, has played in 11 Major League Lacrosse games and scored a goal in every one.
Chesapeake could have clinched its first playoff berth since 2013 with a win. Now the Bayhawks will have to wait until Thursday night’s game at the Atlanta Blaze in order to secure one of four berths in the postseason.
“We’re going to put this one in the toilet and flush it then move on to the next one,” Cottle said. There are so many things to fix that I don’t know where to start so I’m not going to kill our team. I love our players and we’ll be better the next time out.”