Despite already having clinched a berth in the four-team Major League Lacrosse playoffs, the reigning league champion Chesapeake Bayhawks still have something to play for in their regular-season finale against the Charlotte Hounds this Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

If the Bayhawks (8-5) beat Charlotte and the Hamilton Nationals (9-4) lose to the league-leading Denver Outlaws (13-0), Chesapeake would earn the No. 2 seed and a semifinal game against Hamilton on Aug. 24 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.


If the Hounds (7-6) win, they will leapfrog the Bayhawks for the No. 3 seed and meet the Nationals. Chesapeake, in turn, would fall to the No. 4 seed and play Denver.

Considering that the Outlaws swept the Bayhawks by a combined score of 27-21 this season, avoiding a semifinal meeting with Denver would seem to be in Chesapeake's best interest.

Not so, according to Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle.

"We're not afraid of Denver," he said during a conference call Wednesday morning. "We've just got to play better. Obviously, you'd like to play Denver on the second day, and you'd like to play them after they have a tough game on the first day.

"Hopefully, we have a deep bench and hopefully, that will play to our benefit. But there's a saying in sports that you look ahead 94 feet at a time. A halogen lamp goes 94 feet. If you're driving from Florida to Maryland, you're not seeing Florida or Maryland. You're seeing 94 feet at a time, and that's what we've got to do.

"We've got to take care of practice tonight, we've got to take care of a walk-through on Friday, and when we get there, we have to play well against Charlotte, and the rest of that stuff will take care of itself. When you start looking at the big picture, you forget the little picture, and the little picture for us right now is going to be what we do tonight at practice."

Charlotte coach Mike Cerino noted that getting to the postseason means encountering at least one quality opponent and that the strength of the opponents is difficult to separate in the playoffs.

"Everybody we play on Championship Weekend is going to be tough," he said. "We hope that we're a tough matchup for people, too. So as far as actually picking the matchups, I don't think we have any concern as to where we end up with a matchup.

"I think getting to the tournament is the key. With that being said, we want to take this thing as far as we can go, and if we can be a [No.] 3 seed and get ourselves to our eighth victory, then that's what we're focusing on."

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