By Rachel Villari | 4/24/14 9:20 AM
In our final team preview before Saturday's first two games of the season we take a look at the 2013 MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks. Can they Three-peat? Our experts think it's a possibility.
2013 Record: 11-5; Steinfeld Trophy Champions
Key Losses: John Grant, Jr. (A), Casey Powell (A)
Key Additions: Brendan Mundorf (A), Stephen Peyser (M), Joe Walters (M), Peet Poillon (M)
2013 in Review:
The only thing that got the Chesapeake Bayhawks down last season was a minor slump early on in which they took one out of five games starting in Week 4. But that was it. They went on to solidify an 11-5 record, only losing one more game to the regular season undefeated Denver Outlaws in their road to consecutive Championship glory. All in all, the Bayhawks cleaned up under superb coaching, a relentless offense, and an impenetrable defense led by goaltender Kip Turner.
It’s hard to critique a team that has won two consecutive Steinfeld Trophies and over a third of the championship titles since the League’s inception, but if there’s a will, Head Coach Dave Cottle will find a way.
Saying goodbye to John Grant, Jr. and Casey Powell was no easy feat for Chesapeake, with Grant helping win the past two cups and Powell the past three, but the acquisition of MLL stalwarts Brendan Mundorf, Joe Walters, and Peet Poillon will be sure to ease any offensive speculation. Mundorf brings eight seasons of experience, throughout which he has collected 229 goals and 347 points. Walters has a 44 point average over his six seasons in the League, and had a career year last season, accruing 48 points and a league-leading 26 assists. These point-racking machines will be sure to help fill the void of losing Grant and Powell.
However, it’s not as if the Bayhawks are made up of a few superstars. Last season nine players had over 20 points with Drew Westervelt leading the pack with 48 points, making him the fifth highest point collector in the entire League. Close behind him was Ben Rubeor with 41 points and 30 goals and MLL sophomore Matt Mackrides with 30 goals as well.
Kip Turner was an unmovable force in net with an impressive .571 save percentage that only rose through the postseason, eventually reaching .583. He also finished the regular season ranked third all-time for the lowest goals-against average earned in a single season with a 10.35 that only further lowered by the end of Championship Weekend to a solid 10. Anyone who is able to work their way through a repeat Steinfeld Trophy winning defense will most definitely have trouble getting a shot through Turner.
This year, expect nothing less than the Bayhawks making the playoffs. After that, anything can happen.
What the Experts Say:
Laxworm – Mike Sportini: What can be said about the Bayhawks? Well how about this scary thought - Coach Cottle said the Bayhawks got younger and better with their off-season moves, that coming from the 2013 MLL Champions who traded the MLL Championship MVP. If Cottle’s summary is accurate (why wouldn’t it be?) we could see a three-peat!! The Bayhawks have great players and locker room leadership but they also have one of the best coaches if not the best coach in lacrosse.
LaxDirt.com – Tim Thomas: At the draft Coach Cottle told me "I think we have gotten younger and better." I think that about sums it up. This is a team that has won three out of the last four Championships and in the off season they got younger and better. They subtracted John Grant Jr, Casey Powell and Mike Simon from last year and gained Peet Poillon, Brendan Mundorf and Joe Walters...This is a scary team that should be the favorite to win it all again.
And don’t forget to watch all the MLL action this weekend with two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday