Bayhawks Beat Lizards to Launch MLL's 10th Season
by Caitlain Kelley | MajorLeagueLacrosse.com
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Ten years ago the Baltimore Bayhawks, now Chesapeake Bayhawks, played the Long Island Lizards in Major League Lacrosse’s inaugural game. On that night, the Bayhawks recorded a 16-13 victory. Unfortunately for the Lizards, the Bayhawks repeated history, defeating Long Island 16-8, to open the 2010 season.
The Bayhawks came out sluggish with the dynamic duo of Zack Greer and Matt Danowski, one of the best attack combinations in NCAA history at Duke, starting the game for the Lizards. Anthony Muscarella followed Greer by putting one in making it a 2-0 game. The third shot was the charm for Brian Vetter and the Bayhawks; after two straight misses, Vetter scored on his third attempt of the possession for two-points with Kyle Dixon putting in a two-pointer of his own to give the Bayhawks their first lead of the game.
Starting the second quarter on top, the Bayhawks continued to dominate the scoreboard throughout the night. Peet Poillon had seven points in two games last season, but tonight he came out firing and put in three of his five goals in the second quarter. The Lizards offense was stymied by a Bayhawks defense that was rebuilt in the off season. Danowski and Greg “The Beast” Gurenlian posted the only points of the quarter for the Lizards while their teammates made continuous trips to the penalty box, ending the half at 10-4.
After stating his team “has got to stay out of the penalty box” in the next half, Head Coach Jim Mule’s team knocked two in without much resistance. When it looked like the Lizards were going to turn it around, Dixon struck again with another two-point goal; the 2009 MLL leading two-point goal scorer found his groove, bringing the Bayhawks back to life. From there Danny Glading and Poillon went back-to-back, reinforcing their lead. However, before the third quarter could end, the Lizards’ seemingly quiet duo from Duke got one back when Greer found the net.
The Bayhawks’ stellar defense withstood the rush of the Lizards attack in the beginning of the fourth and Poillon added another to cap his five goal night. Throughout the game, the Lizards were unable to make a scoring run to get them back in contention. Twice the Lizards scored back to back goals, both times the Bayhawks answered with three of their own. Alex Smith’s solid performance on face-offs was key to giving the Bayhawks extra possessions and killing the Lizard’s momentum.
After the game, Bud Light MVP, Poillon, commented, “Everyone was involved tonight; our defense holding that team to eight was spectacular.” The new owner of the Chesapeake Bayhawks, Brendan Kelly, must have planned for this win, as the night ended with a firework celebration for all to enjoy.
Although the Bayhawks began the season as they did ten years ago, they must continue to win in order to reach the 2010 MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior. They have a tough schedule ahead, facing the reigning champs, the Toronto Nationals, and the Defenseman of the Year, Brodie Merrill.
The Lizards will have to regroup quickly; they play the Denver Outlaws, who will also be looking to bounce back from an opening night loss.
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