Charlotte Hounds fall short in MLL championship game

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CHESTER, PA. – The Charlotte Hounds came to within a goal of staying in the hunt to claim their first-ever Major League Lacrosse (MLL) championship.

However, the defending champion Chesapeake Bayhawks held on for a 10-9 win over the second-year club to tally their fifth league title, and third in four years, at PNL Park on Sunday.

Down 10-7 with seconds to play, Hounds captain Matt Danowski (2g – 1 2-ptr) scored his only point and goal of the game, a two-pointer that brought the score to within one, just as the final whistle blew.

In supporting teammate Ryan Young’s (4g, 3a) exceptional scoring performance, Danowski’s goal may have come too late, but it wasn’t due to the lack of effort on the Hounds’ part as they couldn’t catch up to the eventual back-to-back champs.

The Bayhawks, led by Player of the Game John Grant Jr. (4g) put the Hounds on the defensive early on as his four consecutive goals scored on four shots taken gave Chesapeake a 6-2 lead early in the third quarter.

It was a deficit that Charlotte couldn’t erase.

Drew Westervelt (3g, 1a) supported Grant’s efforts while Hounds rookie Mike Sawyer (2g) kept his team in the hunt to come back during the final quarter of play.

After scoring 17 goals against the undefeated Denver Outlaws in their semifinal game on Saturday, the Hounds managed to put only 4 shots past Bayhawks keeper Kip Turner (14 saves) during the first three quarters of play.

As a difference maker throughout the game, Turner finally broke down as Young coupled with Sawyer and Peet Poillon to lead Charlotte’s offense which managed to eventually score five goals on the Chesapeake goalie during a valiant comeback attempt.

Even as the final whistle blew and the Bayhawks were announced to claim and raise the Steinfeld Trophy over their heads once more, the Hounds were also able celebrate an exceptional end to the season, but feeling much more pain in doing so.