Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/23/13
From the MLL
The Chesapeake Bayhawks and the Hamilton Nationals will square off in the second semi-final game of Championship Weekend, presented by Smartlink, Saturday, August 24 at 4 p.m. (ET). Tune in to CBS Sports Network to see the game broadcast live. The contest will be played at PPL Park in Chester, PA, with the winner advancing to the finals Sunday at 3 p.m. (ET).
Both teams enter the contest with a 9-5 record, Chesapeake earning the higher seed after edging the Nationals in a tie-break situation. The Bayhawks will therefore be the second seed and home team, while the Nationals will be the third seed and the visitors. The 2012 defending champions will look to repeat this season, while the Hamilton Nationals will try for their first ever Steinfeld Trophy.
This weekend’s meeting will be the third of the season for these teams, splitting the regular season 1-1. Hamilton won the first matchup, defeating the Bayhawks 12-11 in overtime in Week 1. Player of the Game went to Stephen Keogh after a five goal, and 71% shooting performance. Jordan Hall tallied Hamilton’s last two goals of the game, including the extra time winner, and Kevin Cunningham added five assists. Adam Rand went 16-27 at the faceoff X for Chesapeake, while Matt Mackrides added three goals and an assist.
The Bayhawks got redemption in their second matchup in Week 9, beating the Nationals 17-10, and therefore claiming the tie-break. Chesapeake’s Ben Hunt earned Player of the Game after scoring three goals and four points, one of four Bayhawks to tally a hat trick. Hamilton received a goal and four assists from Joe Walters, one of eight Nationals players to score a goal.
Chesapeake enters the weekend in the peak of their season, going 5-1 in the past six games, falling to only number one seed Denver within that time. Hamilton comes in 3-3 over the past six games, including a two game skid to end the season. Regardless, both teams boast solid all-around teams with top talent. The advantage here has to go to Chesapeake, as they are playing their best lacrosse of the season and have an array of veterans who know how to get it done. Hamilton will need an outstanding performance from all sides of the field, but they’ve shown their capabilities more than once this season.
– The Bayhawks will be competing for their fifth Steinfeld Trophy, previously winning the Championship in 2012,
2010, 2005, and 2002.
– The Nationals return to Championship Weekend after a 4-10 season in 2012. Their nine wins this season are a club best.
– MLL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Kevin Crowley (Shipley School Assistant Coach, member of Wings) is tied for the League lead in points with 55, and has recorded a point in a club record 29
– Kip Turner is second in the League in GAA [10.35] and save percentage [.517] this season.
– Drew Westervelt boasts the best shooting percentage among the top 15 scoring leaders [.456].
– Westervelt’s 10 power-play goals are a record setting club best.
– Joe Walters  and Vilanova gradKevin Cunningham  lead the League in assists this season.