June 7, 2012

MLL Weekly: Two Pointers the Thing for Bayhawks

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Kyle Dixon has seven 2-pointers through five games — more than any other MLL team not named the Bayhawks.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

The Chesapeake Bayhawks are not treating the 2-point shot like a novelty.

Through five games, 12 of the Bayhawks’ 70 goals (17 percent) have come from beyond the arc while the league average is around 8 percent. They are well on pace to break the MLL single-season record of 25 2-point goals, set by the Boston Cannons in 2002.  

Sharp-shooting veteran midfielder Kyle Dixon already has seven 2-pointers — more than any Major League Lacrosse team not named the Bayhawks.

So what gives? It’s not just circumstance or an early-season anomaly. Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle has implemented a game plan of which the long-shot is a regular part. It’s not just an end-of-game or time-winding-down crutch.

“It’s been a point of emphasis for us,” Cottle said this week. “There’s a lot to learn from other sports. I think back to when the 3-point shot came out in basketball [in 1987], Rick Pitino took a Providence team, and they led the country in threes attempted and threes made. We look for twos in different opportunities. We’ve told our players they have the green light.”

Dixon, who throughout his seven-year pro career already had a reputation as one of the league’s best 2-point shooters, has flourished even more.

In the first game of the season, Dixon had one shot from downtown to tie Roy Colsey’s MLL career record (34) for 2-pointers. In the next game, Dixon surpassed the record and tied another — the single-game 2-point record — when he pumped in three in a 23-11 win over the Ohio Machine. He became the eighth player in MLL to tally three two-pointers in a game.

Last Saturday, Dixon had a pair of 2-pointers and Steven Brooks had one in Chesapeake’s 18-16 win over Denver. The Bayhawks and Outlaws scored the same amount of goals (15), but Chesapeake outscored Denver by two from 2-point range and got the win.

Dixon has a 2-pointer in all but one game this season, and he is four away from tying his single-season high and the league-high (11 in 2011). Brooks and Ben Hunt each have two, although Hunt was placed on the two-game injured reserve this week after tweaking his hamstring against Denver. Michael Kimmel also has one long ball.

For his part, Cottle, the former Maryland and Loyola coach, sounds like a type of pioneer in the pro coaching game with his philosophy on the 2-pointer.

“If you shoot 20-percent on twos, it’s like shooting 40-percent,” Cottle said. “We’re not afraid to take them, and hopefully we can keep making them.”

Chesapeake is the second best shooting team from all ranges (65.3). The league's official statistics do not include 2-point shots attempted.

Next defense up for the firing squad: the Charlotte Hounds (7 p.m. Saturday, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium). The Hounds' goalie situation has been in flux. Joe Marra, back from injury, could start but don’t be surprised to see Adam Ghitelman as well. Ghitelman has played well off the bench, coach Mike Cerino said, and replaced rookie Mark Manos after one quarter last week (eight goals allowed).

“We’re going to have to get out on their hands,” Cerino said. “We’re going to have to play these guys. We’re going to have to pick up in transition and be aware of it. There’s no hiding what they do. They’ve been very aggressive. They want to take the most 2-pointers in the league and they want to make the most 2-pointers in the league.”

Stanwick Remains Out With Hernia Strain

Steele Stanwick, the 2012 No. 2 overall collegiate draft pick, has still not joined the Ohio Machine. Stanwick has been dealing with a hernia strain and is taking time to recover before joining the pro ranks. It’s unclear when Stanwick was injured during the college season, but for him to battle various injuries throughout his Virginia career was not uncommon.

“Steele is still a ways away, probably another week or so,” Machine coach Ted Garber said. “As I told Steele, I didn’t really want him to try to play three-quarters healthy and try to slog your way through this league because there are too many good defensemen that will just beat on you. He’s got to be at his full speed to be effective.

“If we told him, ‘We really need you to play,’ he would do it, but he knows his body better than I do. He really wants to play. I know the rumor was he didn’t want to play, but that really wasn’t true. He’s anxious to start playing. We’re going to get a really good player that’s fully healthy and ready to go.”

MLL Week 6

SATURDAY

Lizards (2-2) at Cannons (4-1), 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Hounds (1-4) at Bayhawks (4-1), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Outlaws (3-2) at Machine (1-3), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Rattlers (2-2) at Hamilton (1-3), 7 p.m., ESPN3

Visit LaxMagazine.com/MLL for coverage all season long.

Boltus Perpetually ‘Week-to-Week’

Jeremy Boltus, the reigning MLL rookie of the year out of Army, was left unprotected by the Hamilton Nationals in the expansion draft this offseason because the team was unsure if Boltus would be able to play given his commitments to the Army. Boltus is a second lieutenant based at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla.

The Hounds picked him up. So far, so good. Although Boltus must receive approval from his commanding officer to take weekend leave and has often not been able to practice with the team the night before Saturday games because of travel, coach Mike Cerino is happy to have him.

“We say in this league we’re all week-to-week. He’s truly week-to-week,” Cerino said. “But he always takes care of his duties there. We don’t anticipate any problems at all. … Last week was the first time we got him in the night before [a game]. He landed about midnight, so he got a full night’s sleep and a walk-through. He had a great game [three goals].”

Boltus is tied for 11th in the league in scoring with 15 points.

“We enjoy having him around, and I know he enjoys the heck out of it,” Cerino said. “We’re excited as he continues to do a great job where he is, working for the Army, and then making it on time for Hounds on the weekends.”

Rookie Debuts

Tewaaraton Award finalist CJ Costabile (Duke) will make his pro debut with Long Island on Saturday against Boston. Lizards coach Joe Spallina said he would play the long-pole on the field at the same time as Tim Henderson (Army). “This game is all about transition,” Spallina said. “What better two long-pole middies to throw out there at the same time?” They also have former Villanova LSM Brian Karalunas playing down low. “We’re going to have a very athletic unit out there,” Spallina said.

Justin Turri (Duke) made his pro debut last week for Charlotte and scored one goal against Hamilton, but he is unavailable for this week because of a previous commitment. … Mike Manley (Duke) will continue to play for Rochester. Same with Tom Palasek (Syracuse) on attack for Long Island and Kiel Matisz (Robert Morris) for Hamilton. ... Fellow Lizards rookie Matt Gibson (Yale) is off to a fast start, recording 10 points in two games. “He was phenomenal [last week against Ohio],” Spallina said. “He had Kyle [Hartzell] on his heels. He did a great job creating offense for us against an elite pole.” … Cottle said rookie attackman Matt Mackrides (Penn State) and defenseman Brent Adams (Fairfield) will push for more playing time. Both scored a goal in their pro debuts last week against the Outlaws. Grant Kaleikau (Delaware), Joe Cummings (Maryland), John Austin (Delaware) were expected to practice with Chesapeake this week.

Odds and Ends

Alex Smith, the multiple-time all-star and Team USA faceoff specialist, will stay on Chesapeake’s injured reserve list for at least another two weeks as he recovers from offseason Tommy John surgery. Adam Rand will continue to take faceoffs for the Bayhawks. Smith may start practicing in July.  ... Denver has been unlucky with injuries. Defenseman Eric Martin is out for the season and Peet Poillon is at least a week away from returning. He’s still wearing a cast on his hand. Steve Robarge (VMI), a prolific college faceoff guy, had surgery to repair a broken hand and is out indefinitely for Denver. Chris Mattes is expected to return from injury and take faceoffs this week. …  With Ben Hunt going on Chesapeake’s IR list, Danny Glading will dress and Ben Rubeor will play some midfield. … Look for defenseman Tom Montelli to be back in the Rochester Rattlers lineup Saturday. … The legendary Jim Brown, part of the Lizards new ownership group, delivered a pre-game speech to the team before its 20-10 win over Ohio last Saturday. Watch it here. … The waiver wire process for undrafted seniors came and went this week. Charlotte ended up with the big prize, Loyola’s Eric Lusby. Lehigh midfielder Roman Lao-Gosney went second to Hamilton.


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