Philadelphia Barrage vs. Washington Bayhawks
May 18, 2008
The Game Story:
Virginia Beach, VA -- The Washington Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) opened the scoring to start the 2008 season but saw their early lead turn into a difficult uphill climb Sunday afternoon as the Bayhawks lost their season opener against the Philadelphia Barrage in Virginia Beach. Barrage attackman Ryan Boyle scored 3 goals and 1 assist in the first quarter to lead the Barrage to a 9-2 lead after one and force the Bayhawks to fight back the entire game.

The Bayhawks managed to cut the score to 11-8 at one point in the third quarter, but the early deficit was just to much to overcome. Conor Gill (A) and Kyle Dixon (M) each had 3 goals to lead the Bayhawks .

The game opened with Dixon scoring a power play goal after Brian Spallina took a penalty for cross-checking. But the Barrage responded with back to back goals from Justin Smith and Matt Striebel. Striebel appeared to push the lead to 3-1, but his goal was waved off for a crease violation. Spallina took another costly penalty, as Dixon scored a bad-angle shot that beat Barrage goalie Brian Doughtery five hole. After that, the Barrage took control of the first quarter. Philadelphia scored seven unanswered goals giving them a big first quarter lead.

“Obviously in the first quarter, physically, we didn’t match up,” said Bayhawks first year head coach Jarred Testa. “We didn’t have our legs under us and they have a good team. That was hard to recover from.”

Late in the second quarter, Brendan Healy got the Bayhawks offense going on a pass from midfielder Bill McGlone. Healey cut from right to left as he scored his first goal of the season. Minutes later, Bayhawks rookie Derek Cherney scored his first career goal on a pass from Dixon to cut the lead to six. Gill closed the first half scoring with a spin shot to make the game 11-6 going into halftime.

“I was certainly happy with Conor’s performance,” commented Testa. “He stepped up and kinda threw us on his back a little bit and carried us when we needed to be carried.”

The Bayhawks continued to close the gap to start the second half. Two quick goals from Healy and Andrew “Buggs” Combs put the Bayhawks within 3 goals of the defending champions. But the Barrage responded with three goals of their own to push the lead back to six at 14-8. Justin Leonard scored his first Bayhawks goal on a great effort. Falling to the ground with a Barrage defenseman on his back, Leonard made a got off a 1 handed shot that beat Dougherty.

Billy Glading followed with his first career Bayhawks goal picking up a ground ball at midfield and scoring on a great running shot to open the fourth quarter. Dixon and Gill each added their third goals of the game, but the Barrage held on for the 17-12 final score.

“I’m definitely happy with quarters 2, 3 and 4, but the first quarter we have to work on what we’re going to do coming out of the locker room,” said Testa following the game. “I’m proud of the way the guys responded. They fought for every inch of this field, and I thought we showed vast improvement from the first quarter.”