It took three weeks, but the Charlotte Hounds finally put together the kind of performance that got them to last year’s Major League Lacrosse championship game.
That it came against the defending MLL champions was a plus, as the Hounds routed the Chesapeake Bayhawks 12-7 on Saturday for their first win of the season.
Charlotte native Mike Sawyer tied his career high with three goals, and Drew Gibbons added two goals and an assist as Charlotte (1-2) improved to 3-0 all-time against the Bayhawks at Memorial Stadium.
“We're getting more comfortable with each other,” Hounds coach Mike Cerino said. “We had a good effort last week (in a loss to the Florida Launch), but this week we had more sharing of the ball on offense … and some great play by (Pierce) Bassett in the net.”
That came despite a lengthy thunderstorm, which soaked the field at Memorial Stadium and pushed back the start time of Saturday’s game by just over two hours, twice forcing the teams off the field during pre-game warmups.
Yet the start-and-stop didn’t seem to bother Charlotte, which jumped out to a four-goal lead in the first quarter against listless Chesapeake (1-2), and never let them pull closer than three goals the rest of the game.
“We started the game with high energy,” Sawyer said. “In past games, we started off a little flat, but we got the momentum behind us.
“It can mess with your focus waiting that long to start a game, warming up then stopping. We were able to come out and beat the elements, and beat the obstacles in our way.”
The numbers certainly bear that out – the Hounds enjoyed a 28-17 shot on goal advantage against the Bayhawks, as well as led in ground balls recovered (26 to 19) and faceoffs (14 of 21). Bassett, making his second start in place of Adam Ghitelman (out for coaching commitments), also made a season-best 17 saves.
“We didn’t play a team game, and this is what happens,” said former Charlotte midfielder Peet Poillon, who had two goals for Chesapeake along with Ben Rubeor. “We made some dumb penalties, we had some dumb shooting, and we never really ran our offense.”
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