DELAWARE, Ohio - Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle was worried about the Ohio Machine's high-scoring offense entering yesterday's Major League Lacrosse matchup.
DELAWARE, Ohio — Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle was worried about the Ohio Machine’s high-scoring offense entering yesterday’s Major League Lacrosse matchup.
“Ohio plays great offense, and if they get to 15 again, we’re going to lose,” Cottle said.
The Machine was able to fulfill Cottle’s prediction, outlasting the Bayhawks 16-14 in an up-and-down game. The win was its second over the two-time defending MLL champions this season and allowed the Machine (4-6) to climb out of last place.
Coach Bear Davis said that while the win was much needed for the Machine’s playoff hopes, it was even more important for the team’s growth. Five of the Machine’s six losses have come by two points or less, and this was the first time it was able to “hang in there and close it out,” he said.
“We keep saying it because it’s true — we’re young,” Davis said. “We hope to learn throughout this process, and I think today showed we are starting to put things together.”
The Machine started hot, scoring four goals in the first five minutes. But the dominance was short lived. The Bayhawks (3-7) went on a 12-5 run as the fourth quarter loomed. In the past, that might have been enough to break Davis’ young team, but goalie Brian Phipps said that this time, something clicked.
“We found our composure,” Phipps said. “We were getting frustrated early, but we were able to buckle down, hustle and finally finish the game the way we wanted to.”
The Machine, the highest-scoring team in the league, found a way to muster enough offense late, finishing on a 6-2 run that started with a goal from midfielder Jake Bernhardt with one second left in the third quarter. Attackman Marcus Holman led the second-half surge, scoring three goals and totaling four points. Holman scored the final goal of the game with 50 seconds left, putting the Machine up by two to effectively put the game out of reach.
“We preached about playing a 60-minute game,” Holman said. “I felt that this was our most complete game of the season, and we needed it, badly.”
Phipps, who has started every game since June 6, sees the defense improving despite ranking last in the league in goals-against average.
“We’re starting to take more accountability and focusing on our one-on-one matchups,” Phipps said. “Now that we’re starting to do that, these next few games could get exciting.”
The Machine has four games remaining, three at Selby Stadium, following a bye next week. Ohio starts the playoff push on July 19 at home against the Charlotte Hounds, who currently hold a half-game lead over the Machine.