Jared Welsh, LTR Mid-Atlantic
Day 5 of the Major League Lacrosse tournament started thirty minutes early due to continuing weather in the Annapolis area. The previous two days have seen significant weather delays, so the league opted for an earlier start to help prevent any stoppage. The New York Lizards (0-3) took on the Connecticut Hammerheads (0-2) in a battle of the winless.
New York would get on the board first as Decker Curran went five hole on Sean Sconone. The Hammerheads answered back with Michael Kraus backing down his defender and firing a shot around him. Moments later, Sean O’Brien followed his own shot and put the Lizards up 2-1.
The storm winds started to show up to begin the second quarter. Connecticut struck the first blow as Ben Martin got passed his defender and used a two handed ax chop shot to tie it at two. At the 10:42 mark, Will Sands passed from behind goal line extended for an easy catch and shoot for Bradley Voigt to get the Hammerheads the 3-2 lead. Connecticut continued the scoring as Ryan McNamara caught a Brendan Collins pass on his left, pulled his stick right and stepped down into his shot. The half would end 4-2 in favor of the Hammerheads
As players came back on the field to warm up, all of the stadium lights lost power and one of the scoreboards went out. The wind was so strong that is blew the metal advertisement boards onto the field. Lizards players ran over to put them back in place before being ushered off the field for safety reasons. In total, the halftime break lasted an hour. The Lizards found paydirt first on a patient possession to start the half. The extra pass from Justin Reh to Andrew Pettit allowed for the high percentage shot close to the cage. Forty seconds later, the Lizard’s Sean O’Brien took the ball himself on a high sweep and tied the game at four. Connecticut wanted the lead back and found Will Sands alone on the crease for a goal. On their next possession, the Hammerheads’ Ben Martin found Bradley Voigt in the middle of the offensive zone. Voigt would take a punishing hit as he got the shot off for the goal. The run continued when Sands found Michael Kraus on the crease to take the lead to 7-4. The three goal run was ended by Connor O’Hara getting a tight groundball and getting a shot off as he was taken to the ground for the Lizards. A costly offsides call against New York led to a fast break by Connecticut and Bradley Voigt finishes with a goal to send the Hammerheads up 8-5 to go into the quarter break.
Sean O’Brien opened up the fourth quarter with a long range shot with is foot on the two point line to get the Lizards within two. Lehigh standout Andrew Pettit received a pass on the crease and the double fake gave him space to get one by Sconone for the Lizards second goal of the quarter. Bradley Voigt kept the scoring alive for the Hammerheads with a one-handed underhand bounce shot. This was followed up a minute later with another Will Sands goal to put the Hammerheads up 10-7. The Lizard’s Nick Aponte stung the back of the so hard a huge mist of water came off the goal as he got New York within two. However, the Lizards would run out of time and fall to the Hammerheads 10-8.
“Really happy with the way the guys played, a ton of energy, lead each other. A ton of awesome team leadership and grinding it out and played really hard for 60 minutes”, Hammerheads head coach Bill Warder said.
“It was a whole team win today”, Bradley Voigt said. “You have three guys that haven’t ever played with each other, you got [Will] Sands coming in from Boston, you got [Michael] Kraus coming in from Virginia, so it definitely takes a little bit, a couple practices, a couple games but it’s finally there”.
The Hammerheads improve to 1-2 and stay in the thick of the playoff hunt with Boston (Thursday) and Chesapeake (Friday) still on the schedule. The Lizards fall to 0-4 and will face Philadelphia tomorrow at 4pm on ESPN+. The Lizards can steal the last spot in the playoffs with a win.