Bayhawks Win Opener 16-13

Bayhawks Win Opener 16-13

Bayhawks Win Opener 16-13

Bayhawks Win Opener 16-13

The MLL brought their show to Homewood tonight for the first regular season game ever, and although the play on the field can and will improve, nearly everyone involved with the effort had to be pleased with what went down. The crowd (5,953) beat the league's goal of five thousand, the play was exciting (despite some heavy rust), and as expected, the scene surrounding the turf took on a carnival (in the good sense of the word) atmosphere. And, oh yeah, Baltimore won.

The first thing you noticed when you walked in the gates were the giant blow-up structures that adorned the area behind one of the goals. One was a self-contained trampoline, the other a huge green foyer that the players burst through as their names were announced prior to faceoff. It was the kind of thing I'd love to have leading up to my apartment. Ravens' coach Brian Billick was even on hand to toss out the first shot against Greg Cattrano, but I think Cattrano was safe from the 20mph bench press shot the coach let loose. And then SFX Entertainment went a little overboard -- a prerecorded "Baltimore Bayhawks" was blasting over the PA system in an attempt to psych the crowd up. But think Mortal Kombat's Scorpion yelling "get over here" while the track music from Coolboarders2 was backing it up and you have a good idea what that was like. The MLL did do a great job at selling the periphery of the game though, corny promos aside, as evidenced by the sizable amount of fans who occupied themselves with stuff in the fan zone even while the game was going on. And all timeouts or breaks between quarters were filled with contests and giveaways from "The MLL Fun Team" (I kid you not).

Once the game started, you could tell that the new MLL rules made for a game that was distinctly summertime -- it had the up and down, run and gun look that pervades the summer tourney circuit, but it didn't look like the 45 second clock was the major influence with that. It was the 3 longstick rule. As Lizards coach John DeTomasso explained afterwards, "really, the shot clock wasn't much of a factor...we just did our running and didn't slow the game down". That running, after a quick Bayhawks score on a pretty feed from Millon, bumped the Lizards to a 5-2 lead after unassisted goals by Gait, Powell, Gait, Riordan, and Powell all hit in the first 8:00 minutes of the game. Gait (he wore #1 cause Casey got awarded dibs on #22) showed that, although sluggish, trying to cover him with a short stick is a near impossible task -- he was still toying with people, just now with leaning and rolling rather than the split dodges of years past. He was even shut off during a man-up in the second half. And the absence of a 4th longstick helped Powell and Riordan too -- when Powell comes around the corner from behind, its now a really long double from the top wing, and when Riordan got some room to rip a feed, it seemed like the slide was always one stick length away from getting him.

And though there were sick moves and shots that picked corners (some behind the back), the signs of these guys not having spent a lot of time practicing together were evident. The crease defense on both teams was way too porous (it would tighten in the second half as their communication got better) and, especially for the first half of the game, passes were thrown away without any pressure. Also, most of the goals were unassisted, and half of the ones that were assisted came on routine passes, not threads born of having a feel for your teammates (Marechek would be the exception). DeTomasso (a defenseman in his playing days) noted, "its not my particular brand of lacrosse, but I guess we'll have to get used to it....its just very difficult getting used to all the barricades and noise...and all the other stuff going on".

More important than the play, though, was the reaction the fans were having. All goals by the Lizards were met with near silence, and all Bayhawk goals generated applause, cheering, and cat calls. And the identification with a home team is a really good thing for the league because interest would wane pretty quickly if fans approached these things like they did the showcase last summer -- watching a 24-23 game (especially if its the third time the teams have matched up during the season) gets pretty boring if the goals don't really mean anything. But the crowd did think the goals meant something and they showed it; Terry Riordan was pumped, "This was awesome, this is what it's all about".

Baltimore would methodically chip away at the Lizards' lead and eventually overtake them at 8-7, for a lead they wouldn't relinquish, on a Dan Denihan garbage goal that he gathered on the right pipe. Sal Locasio would sprain his ankle on the pile up in the crease (from Denihan's dive, who by the way, is a much stronger player than he was just a year ago) and Carc would replace him.

Baltimore would pull away on the back of Marechek's 6-2 performance, and a vastly more cohesive team defense, to hold on for the 16-13 win. Oddly enough, there were no 2-pointers today, and if I'm not mistaken, there was not even one attempted. It was another facet of the new rules that players seemed to have trouble adjusting to -- there was also next to no cross checking, and the hits doled out during the game could be counted on one hand (despite the fact that the refs didn't even throw one flag until halfway through the 2nd period). But, as Riordan pointed out, "Today was for getting used to all this. Now it's about winning."

Some game notes:
Kudos to Baltimore's Paul Cantebene for stirring it up a little so the fans didn't think the game was a comraderie filled all-star one. Since the body checks and cross checks were at a minimum, Cantabene's cheapshot slash on Pat McCabe, and his willingness to throw down the gloves after a tangle at midfield, showed the audience that the game really meant something to him, that it wasn't just a show. I mean, he definitely was a cheap bastard for wailing on McCabe's knee, but at least it was clear this was do or die for him.

On a more positive note, the ratings for Baltimore's WMAR airing of the game came in at a 2.2 with a 5 share. If you have no idea what that means (like myself), consider that the Orioles game which aired that same night drew a 5.9 with a 10 share. Not bad at all.

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Aunt Sally
    by (#14626) on 6/08/01 @9:02AM
Looks like the bayhawks have a chance to win it all this year. Maybe they will be able to bring home a professional championship to Baltimore. Something worth a little more than that weak super bowl win.
 
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The game was neat to watch
    by (#6392) on 6/08/01 @9:05AM
It was a much more skilled game than what you see in box lacrosse. Some of the goal were just plain unbelievable.

I just hope that conservative offenses aren't coached (a la the NBA) and that the players retain a free flow.
 
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I thought LI was Stacked
    by (#8096) on 6/08/01 @9:34AM
Long Island has every1, Casey Powell, the gaits, Terry R. and Kevin Lowe. Plus they got Fat Sal. What was the deal there? Hmmm, let's see, the stars want to show off to much.....
 
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MLL
    by (#8375) on 6/08/01 @9:59AM
Saw the pre draft game, at Homewood, last week, and was impressed with the effort to get the little kids involved, on and off the field, with activities. The kids in the stands were on the edge of their seats during these events. Get Johnny to get his Dad to take him and Jimmy will want to go, too = success, over time, for this concept. Thumbs up!
 
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Gait not wearing #22
    by (#4321) on 6/08/01 @12:42PM
I can't belive why Gait is wearing number 1 instead of 22. Does Casey deserve it more than him. Gait has seniority.
 
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Seniority when it comes to Warrior?
    by (#6392) on 6/08/01 @2:03PM
Money talks. deBeer walks.
 
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#22
    by (#6322) on 6/08/01 @9:05PM
C. Powell is wearing the number over Gait b/c he was given the title of the leagues marquee player that is why he gets the 30 g's and the double 2's on his back... i read this in an article about the league
 
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Gait's equipment
    by (#2346) on 6/10/01 @4:19PM
Of course the league's marquee player can't wear STX stuff. That would just be terrible! How pissed is Morrow gonna be when Marachek wins the scoring title wearing STX gear? I wear warrior stuff me'self, but Morrow's monopoly just isn't cool.
 
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Marechek wont win the title
    by (#5488) on 6/12/01 @5:51PM
Marechek is an amazing finisher but I just dont see him winning the scoring title. Opposing team defenses will start to study him more and more and double team him alot more. They'll start to shut him down. I think someone like a Jesse Hubbard or a John Grant will win the scoring title. Those guys are just sooo strong and have amazing stick handling. Hubbards shot is sick,I remember him at a camp I went to a couple of years ago and he was back by the restraining box and he shot on this kid in goal. The kid puts his goalie stick up to make the save and the ball went so fast that the ball ripped through the kids netting and went into the goal. Grant just has "the thing of beauty" where he can put the ball in the goal from anyclose angle.
 
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good
    by (#951) on 6/08/01 @1:33PM
thank god they came to their senses and didnt play music while the ball was in play.

the uniforms are pretty sweet, but i still don't know how i feel about those new helmets. the Lizards ones are real weird looking, with that clear plastic on the bottom.
 
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Couple of notes here people...
    by (#303) on 6/08/01 @2:42PM
First... the coach of the world champion Baltimore Ravens is not Bill Belicheck, its Brian Billick, does the writer of this story live in a cage? Second...lets hear it for Chris Turner from Salisbury State (division 3 power house) for scoring the first goal for Baltimore. The uniforms need to be changed, the numbers were to hard to read on television. I like the uniforms as far as design and color but the names and numbers were hard to pick up on TV. Also if these players looked rusty than I can't wait to see them play later in the season. Some of them looked sharp and their vision is amazing, these guys looked liked they have played together before. Marachek is the man!
 
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my bad
    by (#2) on 6/08/01 @3:32PM
that's what writing at 3 in the morning and living near the Giants does (yes, i know Bellichek's at NE now).
 
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Thumbs up MLL
    by (#4776) on 6/08/01 @5:06PM
This game has it all. Baltimore defense and Cattrano looked stunned in the first half, but got their feet and they looked great in the second half. CASEY POWELL IS HORRIBLE. This guy should not be the only person making $30,000. He is too much show and got his ass handed to him a few times. Gait in his slow, aged body performed ten times better than C. Powell. After watching last nights game, Baltimore was the best conditioned team on the field by far. If LI wants to win, they better get rid of the fancy showboat moves. They will struggle if the can't generate better ball movement and unselfish play on the offense end. A hustle player of the game should be Tim Byrne of LI- the guy is fast and played his heart out last night.
After being at last nights game, I heard nothing but good stuff, and once people get exposed to this game and the quality it has- IT WILL EXPLODE IN GROWTH. I have to wait til June 24th to see the Hawks again- I can't wait already.....
 
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wow
    by (#6278) on 6/09/01 @12:08PM
ur a moron and i don't think i'll be the only one telling you this...but ur gonna get some bad replies to this because casey powell is amazing...when you're as good as him or better then u can talk about him being horrible
 
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Just wondering....
    by (#3027) on 6/09/01 @12:27PM
who started for each team? I just want to know so I can get a feel of the new league. I live in NJ so I was able to come down for the game, which is why I'm asking.
 
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OOppps..
    by (#3027) on 6/09/01 @12:28PM
I mean, I WASN'T able to come down for the game.
 
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CASEY WHO?????
    by (#4776) on 6/10/01 @5:29PM
I certainly didn't see a Casey Powell last Thursday..When I did see him, his back was on the ground or he was acting idiotic showboating, which cost his team a few goals. Terry Riordan is a better attackman than Powell at this point, he is unselfish and clearly is a playmaker without putting on a idiotic show. The knee socks belonged to powell- I GUESS HE KNEW HE WAS GOING TO GET RUG BURN FROM GETTING HIS ASS HANDED TO HIM BY THE BALTIMORE D - CASEY POWELL is a freakin baby. GO BAYHAWKS!
 
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Down with the Powell haters
    by (#5776) on 6/11/01 @8:37AM
Get real you ignorant butthole. It is easy to hate the Powells because they are so damn good. You should only be able to criticize them if you are as good as them or able to coach them. You are neither so shut the hell up. Give the man time, he will prove why he makes the big bucks and wears #22. Terry Riordan, while being a good attackman, is far more one dimensional than the versital and talented Casey Powell. Do not compare apples and oranges and learn the game.
 
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powell has no hustle
    by (#8966) on 6/12/01 @3:08PM
I think all the Powells are amazing ten times better then i'll ever be, but the way Casey flopped and rolled around today i was dissapointed. He got wacked in the shoulder and shuttered like he got shot, it killed his teams momentum and got the Bayhawk fans into it. And then he didnt even ride he just stood there looking disinterested like some pussy wide receiver. I was un impressed with his effort and would much rather pay money to see a smash mouth, balls out player like Batistta, or Jalbert. They have hustle.
 
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ur dumb
    by (#14801) on 6/12/01 @9:30PM
casey powell was on fire his first goal was a behind the back his second was a dive around the crease in to the goal you have to be really dumb to not notice that. for you making fun of gary gait you are dumb because he was faster then all the young players he ran the field better and shot better than alot of people and he created all the moves that the stars are using so just keep your mouth shut
 
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Kneesocks
    by (#14573) on 6/10/01 @10:46AM
Do any players on either team wear kneesocks?
 
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kneesocks
    by (#5306) on 6/12/01 @10:12PM
shut up about the kneesocks dude
 
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Seriously, dude
    by (#27) on 6/13/01 @8:11AM
Get your ridiculous kneesock drivel out of here...kneesocks are for pretty boy show boaters...like POWELL!!!
 
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lol
    by (#14573) on 6/13/01 @7:49PM
I'll discuss any topic I like. This last I heard, I had free speech. Feel free not to read this or answer this!!!!!
 
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kneesocks?
    by (#14822) on 6/13/01 @11:59AM
I think I speak for 99% of the users at this site: PLEASE FORGET ABOUT KNEESOCKS, its old, gay and useless. If you must discuss Kneesocks please do so in the Kids Section at www.laxtalk.com.
Now on with the important stuff!
 
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too bad
    by (#14573) on 6/13/01 @7:48PM
If you don't like it, lump it!!!!
 
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dude
    by (#14822) on 6/13/01 @10:44PM
don't you get it? the only people responding to your feeble little fetish are lacrosse players not #$@!%^* sock lovers, look up www.sockfetishes.com
 
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Powell
    by (#14927) on 6/16/01 @2:48PM
Powell is probably the best player on the planet and ur talkin trash? He could tear you apart and those 7 goals last game isnt too bad either. GO LI!
 
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