IRONMAN Announces IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio Triathlon

IRONMAN To Take Place Downtown Delaware

 


 
IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio TriathlonTAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2015) – IRONMAN announced today the addition of the IRONMAN® 70.3® Ohio triathlon, which will take place on August 21, 2016, in the scenic and historic city of Delaware. The race venue is located just north of the bustling capital city of Columbus.

“As the IRONMAN 70.3 race series continues to grow, we are excited to have Delaware, Ohio join our family of exceptional events,” said Steve Meckfessel, Managing Director of Global Race Operations for IRONMAN. “IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio is sure to provide unforgettable race experiences for our athletes and we are proud to be able to offer a new race in this central location.”

The IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio triathlon begins with a single-loop, 1.2-mile swim in the calm waters of Delaware Lake. Athletes will then embark on a flat and fast 56-mile bike course that includes a few technical sections along the way. The course will wind through Delaware, Marion and Morrow counties before returning to Transition 2, located at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Selby Stadium. Finally, athletes will take on a double-loop, 13.1-mile run course with gently rolling hills. The course offers scenic country views and an amazing finish in front of Selby Stadium.

“Delaware is honored to host the new IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio event and the sport’s best athletes,” said Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle. “This spectacular event and the city of Delaware will provide a great experience for the athletes, fans and families.”

Centrally located in Ohio, Delaware is located less than 30 miles north of the capital city of Columbus. With its rich history and traditional downtown, the city of Delaware offers both historic sites along with modern accommodations. Delaware is home to Ohio Wesleyan University, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. The city is also famous for The Little Brown Jug, an internationally known horse race which is part of the Triple Crown of harness racing.

The IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio triathlon will offer age-group qualifying slots for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, recently announced to be taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

General registration for IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio will open October 27, 2015 at www.ironman.com/ohio70.3.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Athlete inquiries may be directed to ohio70.3@ironman.com.

 

Source: IRONMAN Press Release

 


 

PREVIEW ~ Machine Face Rochester In Club’s First Playoff Appearance

By a show of hands, who would categorize Friday as the most shortcoming point in the week?

I hope you raised your hand.

I mean, come on. Trying to complete projects that were started on Monday or Tuesday and wishing to forget sleepy, hair-brained mistakes made on Wednesday, Friday inevitably turns into a psychological, weekend-anticipating world to the point where one almost has to click the heels of his ruby-red slippers together three times to return to reality. On ESPN, “Sportscenter” airs its “Not Top 10” plays of the week, commemorating the mishaps committed by sports professionals, while on the “Tonight Show”, Friday night is a time when Jimmy Fallon “catches up on some personal stuff: checks his inbox, returns some emails, and writes ‘Thank You Notes'” in a weekly, late night segment. Friday is a day not focused on today; a day of reflection on its predecessor’s shortcomings.

Coach Bear Davis Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Coach Bear Davis
Photo courtesy of Andy Long

The Ohio Machine have had two very bad Fridays in their haunted past, or, for illustration’s sake, endings to consecutive 2-12, last-place seasons in Major League Lacrosse. Stuck in a sloshy slump that one doesn’t just hop out of, the Machine were seemingly stuck in the slums of the MLL.

Though, instead of sleeping in their miserable slumber, the Machine used its “weekend”, or the 2013-2014 offseason, for something new: preparation.

Through smart, hard-working moves on the field and in the front office, the club worked its way into 2014 a new-looking team, acquiring major contributors such as midfielder Kyle Harrison and rookie Peter Baum, among other key pieces to a new squad. That, paired with a “never settle”, “oiled-up” mentality, put the Machine in a new spot mentally to prepare them to accomplish multiple feats that have been achieved by the team in 2014, including a club-best 8 wins in the regular season, multiple single-game scoring records, and individual scoring records.

So, it might really matter how one’s Friday and weekend is spent.

For the first time in club history, the Machine will get to spend this literal Friday preparing for the biggest game the club has ever seen: The Major League Lacrosse playoff semifinal against the Rochester Rattlers, a matchup which naturally rids the club of its old label of “short-comers”.

The Machine are now a force to be reckoned with.

Riding a five game winning streak that granted the team its 4th place, final playoff spot a week ago, the Machine are easily the hottest team in the MLL. The club boasts the top scoring offense in the league, headlined by Marcus Holman with the league lead in goals, and, as well, hosts a defense that has vastly improved even upon woes discovered earlier this year. On the winning streak, the defense has allowed a less-than-impressive 75 goals, yet has stepped up in crucial situations to propel the team to victory.

In a grand compilation of the various achievements accomplished by the club this season, the club’s first playoff appearance could not come against a more favorable opponent. The Machine have defeated Rochester two times already in 2014 and can go for the trifecta on Saturday when the two teams take the field.

Alexander pumps his stick in celebration after the score.  Photo by Spenser Hickey - DelawareO.

Alexander pumps his stick in celebration after the score. Photo by Spenser Hickey – DelawareO.

In the teams two meetings, the Machine outscored the Rattlers with a combined 35-28 goal count. Marcus Holman has proved to be a Rattler-killer for the Machine, scoring 11 of the teams total 35 goals. Watch for Holman, who scored 4 goals last week against Florida and leads the league in goals, to make a large impact in Saturday’s matchup. As well, watch for Steele Stanwick, the attackman for the Machine who usually plays behind the net as a “feeder” to other scorers such as Holman, to make a big scoring impact if Rochester pays too much attention to weapons like Holman. Stanwick scored 4 goals and added 2 assists in the teams’ last matchup.

For Rochester, Midfielder Dave Lawson led the charge in the teams’ last matchup, scoring four goals and adding an assist to lead the club. On Saturday, watch for players such as Dana Wilbur, defensiveman for the Machine, to neutralize at least one of the big three offensive contributors, Justin Turri, Jordan Wolf, and Lawson for Rochester in Ohio’s attempt to hold the Rattlers back. In the teams’ last meeting, Wolf, who unexpectedly scored 4 goals and added an assist in the teams’ first meeting, was held to only one goal in the second match just a few weeks ago. Offensive adjustments for Rochester may be the most interesting storyline coming into Saturday’s game, where the first-placed club in Major League Lacrosse will attempt to shake off the uprising Machine.

The game will be played at Rochester in a new MLL playoff twist. This year, semifinal matchups will be played at the higher-ranking opponent’s home turf. This year, fourth-seeded Ohio has a 2-4 record on the road.

So, conclusively, many interesting things will be happening today and this weekend, headlined by the biggest game in Ohio Machine history.

I know I won’t be napping.

Machine achieve playoff spot with 14-10 victory

The Ohio Machine finished their 2014 regular season with a win in what was announced as “the most important game of the franchise.”

The 14-10 victory over the Florida Launch propels them into the playoffs; their next game will be August 16 against the Rochester Rattlers in Rochester, New York.

“Going to the playoffs is an incredible experience for our guys and a good opportunity; we’re not just going to be happy just getting there, I mean that’s not the way we’ve approached this whole season,” said head coach Bear Davis.

“We’re going up there on a mission…to win, to win every inch we get.”

Attacker Marcus Holman scores the Machine's first goal in the game.

Attacker Marcus Holman scores the Machine’s first goal in the game.

Leading the Machine’s offense were Attackers Steele Stanwick and Marcus Holman, with three and four goals each.

“It’s just a great win overall, nice team victory,” Stanwick said.

“I don’t think we played our best overall, it’s so nice to get a little win to get our momentum going in the playoffs.”

The Machine jumped out in the first quarter, scoring four times in less than five minutes of play and then adding four more points in the second, putting the Launch down 8-4 at halftime.

“We were just trying to play four minutes at a time, just try to get ourselves regrouped, and win the next four minutes, we don’t look back too much,” said Coach Davis.

“It’s not really a good habit to get into, looking back, we’re just trying to keep moving forward.”

Referees review the Machine's second goal, which was challenged by the Launch but upheld.

Referees review the Machine’s second goal, which was challenged by the Launch but upheld.

Their practice of focusing on only the current four minutes would pay off after the third quarter, when the Launch landed three goals to the Machine’s one, narrowing the score to 9-7.

The Machine definitively pulled ahead in the final quarter – the Launch made it to within two points again early on, but the Machine’s responding pair of goals ensured they would need to make several unanswered points to at least force overtime.

Between the Machine’s continued offensives and the clock, the Launch never had the chance to get past three points down after that.

The Machine offense celebrates after their 12th goal.

The Machine offense celebrates after their 12th goal.

“Every team in this league is talented, and the games for the most part are close, two or three goal games,” Holman said afterwards.

“We just stuck with it, got on a little roll there in the fourth quarter, and finished them out, our defense did a great job on that.”

“I think we did a good job studying up on them, they were a little different than when we played them the first time, but our coaches gave us some good film so we could watch that, study up. I thought we executed pretty well,” said goalie Brian Phipps.

The Machine played the Launch previously on May 10 but lost 10-9.

Attacker Peter Baum charges off the sideline before scoring the final Machine goal to clinch the win.

Attacker Peter Baum charges off the sideline before scoring the final Machine goal to clinch the win.

“We set (the playoffs) as a goal, and there were times this season where we looked good and times we didn’t look so good but I thought we did a great job sticking together as a team and our core has done a great job of supporting each other and it feels good to make it,” Holman said.

“I think we just wanted to take care of business,” Stanwick added.

“We weren’t really worried about anything else, we just wanted to have a good game tonight for us and just take care of it and control our own destiny.”

“Our first team meeting we said, we’re no longer an expansion team, we can play with the best of them, we got the weapons to do it so let’s go out and prove we can win,” Phipps finished.

“We thought we could be here and now our next step in the chapter is to win the next round and go on to Georgia.”

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RECAP ~ Rookies Blast Machine into Playoff Deadlock in Victory

Game winning overtime goal. Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer, DelawareO.com

Game winning overtime goal. Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer, DelawareO.com

The Ohio Machine, in best-case-scenario fashion, propelled itself to playoff contention with a 13-12 overtime victory over the Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night.

An unorthodox night, Ohio was forced to play without Team USA members and important offensive contributors Kyle Harrison, Marcus Holman, and Steele Stanwick due to the FIL World Lacrosse Championships ensuing at the same time in Colorado. The aforementioned three sit in the top five in overall points (goals + assists) for Ohio, and one would be insane to figure prior to the match that the absence of such massive production would not seemingly create one big, nasty rust spot in the normally oiled-up, MLL top ranked Machine offense. Among other question points, such as the periodical weakness of the Machine defense and the balance of the team overall, the Machine went into Selby Stadium on Saturday with a 4-6 record, the same mark as Charlotte, the foe of the night, marking the obvious uncertainty that has surrounded the team ever since its rough, two-wins-in-a-season origin. In the end, though, the Machine answered those questions and rough edges resoundingly, showing progressive evolution on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, making for a night that was not only beneficial on the surface, but also deepening, strengthening, and rather frustrating and gritty.

“It was ugly; sometimes you have to win ugly,” sighed a worn-and-torn, yet smiling Peter Baum after the win.

“I think [the guys] dug deep all night long. That’s the one thing we felt strongly about,” Coach Bear Davis contributed. “You know, we had a young group out tonight, yet it was a promising group. So, it was just a matter of perseverance and getting the job done.”

The first quarter saw changes for the Machine, such as normal reserves like Kevin Cooper starting for the club. Yet, the offense started the way it might have on any other regular night. Less than one minute into the game, Logan Schuss, an offensive mainstay, broke the ice with the first goal of the game. Two minutes later, Peter Baum, the overall points leader for the Machine, responded to a fresh Charlotte score with a goal of his own. A start worthy of an “A” grade, the club was taking lengthy and smart offensive possessions, isolating on defense, and executing a perfect 3 for 3 face off conversions. Soon thereafter, rookie attackman Derek Maltz, who had never played in a MLL match before Saturday, scored his first goal of his career. He went on to score three more goals on the night in a stellar offensive premier.

“There was a little bit of jitters coming in,” explained Maltz. “I just tried to have fun and do my job. Working with these guys is so easy and it felt so good, and it makes my job a lot easier. … I try to focus on the next play and do whatever I can to help the team.”

Overtime faceoff, the Machines 2nd in 2014. Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer, DelawareO.com

Overtime faceoff, the Machines 2nd in 2014. Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer, DelawareO.com

Going into the second quarter with a 3-1 lead, the unusual lack of scoring seemed to put the Machine at a sincere advantage. As one intern in the press box stated: “The Machine need a low scoring game,” and those words began to make exceedingly more sense as the second quarter progressed and the once-sloppy Charlotte offense began to materialize. Charlotte went on to score 4 goals in the quarter, while Kevin Cooper put up the only goal of the quarter en route to a 1-spot for the Machine. In the process of adapting to new personnel on the offensive end, the Machine began to become a little rusty.

“It was really one of those up and down games,” said Peter Baum. “We were trying to talk the new guys through the systems as best we could, but it wasn’t very polished.”

Coming out of the gate after halftime, things started to become more and more fluent as Brian Farrell, Eric O’Brien, and Derek Maltz scored 3 goals (respectively) in rapid succession to make for a quick two-goal lead. Though, by 10:09 in the quarter, Charlotte scored two goals to tie the game at 7 goals a piece. The offenses were flowing with considerate improvement, and after two more Charlotte goals followed by another punch by Derek Maltz, one defining moment of the night came for the Machine. After coming up with a near-impossible ground ball in a cluster of players, the Machine drove down the field and drew a penalty from Charlotte. In a huge power play opportunity, Logan Schuss threw in the equalizer for the power play conversion. Going into the fourth quarter, the teams were tied at nine goals a piece.

The fourth quarter started with growing tension, as both teams were taking acceptable and worthy shots on goal. By the time Charlotte called a timeout at 3:42 to go in the period, two goals were scored by each team, knotting the score at 12-12. Brian Farrell then scored the go-ahead goal for the Machine. Though, with just two seconds remaining in the match, Ryan Young put in the desperate equalizer for the Hounds to send the game into overtime.

A rather deflated Machine took the field for overtime and, after surrendering one of the first possessions to Charlotte, made a fantastic defensive stop to keep the game alive, headlined by goalie Brian Phipps’ amazing save of a shot directly in front of the goal.

Asked what he was thinking when that shot was taken, Phipps exclaimed: “Ahh — Don’t hit the panic button! Don’t hit the panic button!” as chuckles ensued. “We made the save, we cleared it, and then they came back down and we played the best 6-on-6 defense we played all game. We made the stop and then they put it in on the other side.”

As described, Tom Schreiber put in the winning goal after a gutsy defensive stop by the Machine that defined the teams’ heart, balance, and grit. The goal was Schreiber’s first of the day.

“It was really a mature win for us. We’ve always been on the other end of these games, and this time … we didn’t give up and we won it in overtime,” exclaimed a satisfied Phipps.

Not only did the offense and defense mature for the Machine, but also the face-off duo of Eric O’Brien and Bobby Datillo. After being near perfect in the first quarter, the “company” went on to muscle out 17-29 face-offs, which were five more than Charlotte gained.

Derek Maltz led the Machine in scoring on the night, netting four goals, while Logan Schuss, Peter Baum, and Tom Schreiber joined Maltz with four total points for the club. Bobby Datillo led the club with six ground balls.

Justin Ward made a big impact for Charlotte, scoring 3 goals en route to a team-leading 3 points.

To make the victory even more sweet, news broke in the third quarter of the Charlotte/Ohio game that fourth placed Boston had lost to New York, who owns third place. With the win, the Machine now sits tied with Boston for fourth place and the playoff placement that comes with it with a record of 5-6. The club will get the opportunity to gain fourth place outright next week as its home stand finishes Saturday, July 26th, against the Denver Outlaws at Selby Stadium. With a win against Denver and a Boston loss, the Machine would gain fourth place outright for the first time in club history.

 

PRE-GAME ~ With Playoffs Reachable, Adaptive Machine Stares Down Hounds

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Accompanied by an eye-opening, stranger-than-fiction storyline, the Ohio Machine will attempt to defend its home turf at Selby Stadium in Delaware on Saturday night against the Charlotte Hounds.

On July 4th, the Machine put themselves within one game of the fourth placed Boston Cannons with a 16-14 victory over the Chesapeake Bayhawks. A week surrounded by festivities and distractions, Coach Bear Davis was glad with his team’s adaptation and preparation en route to the win.

“…I felt like the adjustments we’ve made, we’re pretty solid. We just kept making adjustments throughout the game, just making sure we were putting guys in spots where they were comfortable. In the end result, it worked out.”

The ability to adjust will become a deadly weapon especially this week against Charlotte, as team points co-leader Marcus Hollman, midfielder Kyle Harrison, and attackman Steele Stanwick are inactive for the Machine against the Hounds, because you cannot be two places at once. Being members of Team USA, their first commitments are with the FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Colorado. The Red, White, and Blue face off against Canada for the championship Saturday night at 9:00 p.m..

IMGP5064With this gaping hole left in the MLL’s number one ranked offense (per games played), as three of the five best points (goals + assists) contributors for the Machine will be absent, other players will have to adapt into new roles. In experiments that were seen two weeks ago, team points co-leader Peter Baum, normally a midfielder, was seen playing behind the net at attack, while new faces such as rookie Rob Guida, who has only played in two games this season, contributed a meaningful role at midfielder.

Obviously, Baum and attackman Logan Schuss, the two remaining top points contributors for the Machine, will have to lead the offense by example and vocal communication. Though, the Machine will have to rely heavily on players such as Guida, who will be forced to step into new, definitive roles against Charlotte.

“The one thing we have constantly tried to evaluate throughout this year is what’s the best situation to win games,” Coach Davis conversed earlier this week. “The only way you get the defense moving is by running by people, and Rob certainly can do that. He has the ability to run by people, plus he’s a great shooter.”

Charlotte (4-6), who sits behind the Machine in the standings only because of the loss suffered to the Machine in the season opener in April, will be facing an advantage against the maimed Machine, as not one player was removed from the Hounds’ roster to play for Team USA. In this way, Charlotte may not need to adjust to the same degree as the Machine, and the chemistry made throughout the season on the offensive and defensive side of the Machine will not be affected.

Though, as Coach Bear Davis agrees, “underdog” is a dangerous term to use when referring to the Ohio Machine.

” I kind of look at it as that old western movie when you kick in the doors and you start firing. That’s how we have to come out from the first whistle and we have to end that way with the last whistle. … I IMG_5218think the guys are up for it, they’re excited, they know our back is to the wall and I think that’s when we play our best.”

In a slight advantage for Ohio, the unpredictable Machine defense will have the opportunity to face the worst offense in Major League Lacrosse in Charlotte, who has averaged only 11 points per game throughout this season. Rather hormonal, the Machine defense has experienced its share of hot flashes and cold flashes throughout the season, and even though the cold flashes have been below-freezing type of cold, where easy goals were scored and frustration was evident, the times when the Machine has gotten it together have been noticeable. Goalie Brian Phipps sits behind the defense, and, as a leader, has done his job well, his goals against average sits at 12.69. Defensiveman Brian Farrell has also been a useful tool, converting five offensive assists for the Machine.

With the playoffs in mind, the Machine are in prime position to make a run at the coveted fourth place. Sitting in fifth place, one game behind the Boston Cannons, who have defeated the Machine twice this season, the Machine have a record (4-6) tied with Florida and Charlotte. Sitting ahead of those teams in the standings because of wins against them earlier in the season, the Machine still must win Saturday’s matchup against Charlotte in order to gain fifth place outright. With that, Boston plays first placed New York, as well, on Saturday. With a Boston loss this week and a Machine win, the two would be tied for fourth place and playoff position.

From there, look out.

 

IN COACH’S WORDS:

We have to come out guns-a-blazing and get after it. I think that that’s the way we have to play this game.

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Machine Execute Freeing Victory Against Chesapeake

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

You could call yesterday, the Fourth of July, “Independence Day” for more than one reason.

For one, there is the reason that everyone knew and proudly celebrated without precedent, the freedom-causing feat that was embroidered to the minds of every future American in the year 1776. Though, on July 4th, the Ohio Machine returned to Delaware in grand festivity for the first time in two weeks to break free oppressive powerhouse called “losing”. In patriotic fashion, the Machine outworked the Chesapeake Bayhawks en route to a 16-14 victory.

“We played a whole sixty minutes today,” exclaimed Marcus Holman, who was the game’s Most Valuable Player. “There weren’t many big lapses. We started strong and we finished strong. It was just a great team effort.”

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

Starting in the first quarter, the Machine came out as gangbusters, scoring four consecutive goals in the first five minutes. Two unlikely candidates, midfielder Bill McGlone, who has played in only four games for the Machine this season, scored the second goal of the match, and defensiveman Brian Farrell scored the third in transition. Rookie Tom Schreiber added the first goal of the game just two minutes in at 13:01, and the fourth goal three minutes later (10:05).

After what seemed to be a potential Machine smack-down, Chesapeake, with a very nondescript mantra, found a way to punch in three goals in three minutes to put them back in the game at the blink of an eye. After two more goals by Machine midfielder Kyle Harrison and Chesapeake’s Joe Walters, Ohio ended the quarter leading 5-4.

The Machine sported little of their strong offense in the second quarter, with Kyle Harrison, Rob Guida, and Bobby Dattilo scoring to make for only 3 goals. Meanwhile, Chesapeake netted five goals to put themselves up by one goal at the end of the half. A quarter that may not have been worth watching, the Machine seemed out of sorts, giving up measly, quick possessions on offense and being bendable on defense, allowing Chesapeake to score quickly and easily.

Asked whether he was tempted to move goalie Brian Phipps out of the goal or to change any defensive personnel, Coach Bear Davis, who was dressed “for battle” with the rest of his coaching staff in camouflaged cargo shorts, remained confident in his squad.

“I don’t think we were ever in doubt (with him); he was playing solid. He did see maybe a couple, but other than that, he did a real nice job.”

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

Surprisingly, the Machine, a team that usually makes a large impact in the third quarter, scored only two goals in the second half premier. Though tightening up defensively, allowing only three goals to Chesapeake, Ohio uncharacteristically was silent on offense, allowing for a two-point goal thirty seconds into the quarter by Marcus Holman, and a transitional goal with 1.5 seconds left in the period by Jake Bernhardt.

Having suffered all but one of the team’s six losses by two goals or less, Coach Davis stressed the necessity of pulling away from teams as early as possible.

“We just need to find some more balance to where we are just playing even keel all the way through, so we don’t have to play catch up at the end,” Davis chuckled. “You’ve got to get over that hump and bury a team, and everyone’s trying to get to that point.”

Having to play catch up in the fourth quarter, being down by one goal going into the “final countdown”, the Machine started the quarterly scoring with Marcus Holman netting an equalizer in transition. Though, just after the Machine were put in a position to take the lead, Joe Walters scored a Chesapeake goal just a minute later to put the Bayhawks up, yet again, by one goal. Peter Baum, who, for most of the game, played attack for the injured Steele Stanwick (hamstring), made his first scoring impact of the evening, scoring the next two goals in succession for the Machine. After Matt Mackrides scored yet another equalizer for Chesapeake, Jake Bernhardt scored what would prove to be the go-ahead goal for the Machine, the score being 15-14. Marcus Holman put an insurance goal up for the club with fifty seconds remaining in the game to seal the deal for the now 4-6 Ohio Machine.

Being without mainstay attackman Steele Stanwick, who did not play with an injured hamstring, the Machine offense still found a way to contribute enough goals and balance for the win.

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

“It throws a little wrinkle in [the offense], but at the end of the day, we’re professionals. So, you learn to deal with stuff like that, and I think Peter Baum jumped in nicely and filled his role well. Once again, it was an overall team effort. There’s only one ball on the offensive end, and we’ve all got to share it, and I think we did that well tonight,” explained Marcus Holman.

Holman scored a team-best three goals on the night, contributing four total points total. Kyle Harrison, Tom Schreiber, and Jake Bernhardt contributed 2 goals a piece for the Machine.

Both Ohio and Chesapeake succeeded at the face-off X, each team converting 16 face-offs off of 32 tries. Eric O’Brien (10-17) and Bobby Dattilo (6-15) worked as platoon-mates for a Machine team who has struggled to win nightly face-off battles.

“Going with a committee, it’s sometimes hard to get in a groove,” O’Brien explained after the win. “But we figured it out tonight, and Bobby and I are doing really well as a team. There’s no one that is bad in this league from a face-off standpoint. He (Stephen Robarge) did very well, but we ended up figuring him out and tiring him out, and he just couldn’t handle it in the second half. You know, more possessions equal more goals, which equal more W’s, so it was great.”

For Chesapeake, Joe Walters contributed a team-best eight points on four goals and four assists.

The Machine return to “battle” next week, July 19th, to face the fifth-place Charlotte Hounds in the second game of the team’s three-game home stand. With the win this week against Chesapeake, the Machine moved to sixth place in the MLL and could move into fifth place with a win against Charlotte next week. Boston, the team in which the Machine has lost to twice this year, currently occupy the last playoff position: fourth place.

PRE-GAME ~ Machine Primed for Rebound Against New York

Surprises and storylines have been main themes for the energetic Ohio Machine, who will look to start resolving some of those open ends Saturday night at New York.

After a heartbreaking overtime loss against Boston last week, Coach Bear Davis looked to capitalize on the leadership and resolve at practice this week that never had the chance to be flaunted as such until last game.

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

“Being down by five, and with such a short clock, and having the fight in the dog that we had to come back and tie it up, I think shows a lot of character by our guys. I think they could’ve folded up the tents there at that point but they decided to make the commitment to stay in the game and get after it, so that was positive.”

Such has been the battle cry for Ohio all season — Battle ~ Get that extra ground ball ~ Work just a bit harder ~ Focus on the positives and work off of them. Even though, in some games, those positives have been outweighed by negatives, Coach Davis has always found a way to keep the team focused, on point. With some of the negatives of that strategy, there is one overlying positive that matters more than ever: The team will be focused and grounded when it actually hits the fan, when the Machine are in solid playoff contention, and when people really start paying attention.

The Machine are ready for now.

Such readiness will be necessary when the Machine walk through the tunnel at the James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York, to face a rather formidable foe in the New York Lizards. The Lizards (4-4) defeated the Machine in Ohio back in May. Since then, the Lizards and the Machine have developed certain assets and have had surprising breakouts from other players.

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Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

Since the two teams’ last meeting on May 17th, the New York Lizards have developed into a solid, yet inconsistent, club. Sporting a negative goal deferential, the Lizards are not overwhelmingly solid on either the offensive or defensive sides of the ball, but a few specific players serve as dynamite for a team coming off of a win against Charlotte last week. Rob Pannell, who scored only one goal against the Machine in their last meeting, has had a breakout season en route to becoming a member of Team USA and the leader in overall points for New York. On the year, Pannell sports 21 total goals and 10 assists, which are both team highs. For what some would call an offensive “anchor”, blowing out the second place goal scorer (16) and assists leader (5), Pannell also has a darker side. The attackman flaunts a rather low .259 shot percentage. Even though he shoots early and often, not many are primed for the goal. Though, the Machine have had trouble matching up against attackmen all season, as shown last week with Bostons’ Will Manny and Paul Rabil. So, this attackman might as well be ready to make an impact.

Though, the Machine might be primed to make an impact of their own. The Machine offense, unlike New York, could be categorized as explosive. Last week against Boston, the Machine offense scored an overwhelming 5 goals in 5 minutes to come back from an overwhelming fourth quarter deficit. Amusingly, no two goals were scored by the same player during that stretch. The offensive charge for Ohio comes from many different avenues, and in the case of last weeks’ fourth quarter comeback, even the defense got involved in the scoring. Defensiveman Dana Wilber netted a two-pointer to put the Machine even with Boston headed to overtime. Hopefully, this week, the Machine defense can be as reliable at its normal job as it can be on offense. On a noticeable slump or lag, the defense has had issues in some areas. Admittedly from Coach Davis, the issue from last week was subbing and giving the other team favorable matchups in their offensive zones. But overall, the defense has had trouble with communication and being in the positions that they should be in. The Machine defense will look to rebound from its stinky streak against a favorable opponent in a rather straightforward New York offense.

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Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

Though, with the shaky defense, one cannot go analyzing the Machine without delving into their offensive balance and hotness. Even though young, the offense puts forward a balanced and controlled by veterans Steele Stanwick and Kyle Harrison, who, as Coach Davis pointed out earlier this week, are the “anchors” of the Machine offense, but in a different way than New York.

“I wish I could come up for a word for how important he is, but I don’t know if there’s a word that exists for it right now. I mean, he’s everything,” mused Davis. “When it hits the fan, they [teammates] look to Kyle Harrison. He keeps that calm, cool, collective way about him, and that’s how you come back when you’re down by five goals with five minutes left in the game, is with a veteran presence like him.”

Though the veteran personalities in Stanwick and Harrison have a prominent role backstage, they certainly make an impact in leading the gameplay as well. Stanwick leads the team with 19 assists, and Harrison has 21 total points on the year. He is the fifth of five players on the Machine with 20 or more total points. Each of those players make a huge impact to the offense, and provide the team with extreme balance that is sure to penetrate the New York defense on Saturday.

 

WHO TO WATCH FOR

Face-Off Men —  In what has been a weaker point for the Machine all season, Coach Davis will have to chose someone to pit up against regular starter Greg Gurenlian, who is just under 60% on face off conversions all year (126-212). Oddly, Coach Davis sat out Eric O’Brien, who had a rather strong outing against Rochester two weeks ago, in last weeks’ match against Boston. It was confirmed earlier this week that there is no health issues with O’Brien – that it was purely a coaches decision to start Bobby Datillo over O’Brien. It will be a point of interest to see who Davis pits against New York mainstay Greg Gurenlian in the face off circle.

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

Machine Young Guns — In the two teams’ first meeting in May, which was, as well, Tom Schrieberand Peter Baum‘s home premier for the Machine, both of the aforementioned young ones scored three goals a piece for the Machine. Now that they are more matured and in mid-season form, watch for those two to have a substantial impact against New York.

 

IN COACH’S WORDS

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Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these guys know that they can compete with anybody now. I mean we’ve played everybody and had tight games or won against everyone at some point. So now, the second time around, it’s a matter of ‘okay,’ it’s not let’s make sure we’re competitive, it’s make sure that we finish the job. That’s the next hurdle, and I think for every coach and every team, that’s always a tough hurdle.”

 

 

 

The Ohio Machine @ the New York Lizards will be broadcast live on the MLL Network (Youtube.com) at 7:00 p.m. eastern time on Saturday, June 28th.

 

 

Ohio Machine Falls to Boston in Overtime

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

The Ohio Machine ran out of chances on Saturday night, falling to the Boston Cannons by a score of 17-16 in overtime after coming back ferociously in the fourth quarter. A missed call by the referees prompted the winning goal by the Cannons.

Attackman Will Manny led the offensive charge for Boston that took down the Machine, slapping in five goals, including the game winner in overtime.

For the Machine, the pre-game plan was to match up with Manny and neutralize superstar attackman Paul Rabil, both of whom made a substantial impact in the team’s last meeting. Rabil got dealt the short stick defenseman for most of the game from the Machine in an effort to put more pressure on the usually-balanced Boston defense. Instead, the opposite remained true in most of the game.  At halftime, with the squad down 6-9, Head Coach Bear Davis immediately pointed to substituting when asked by the MLL Network (youtube.com) on-air personalities what the team needed to clean up defensively going into the second half.

“Oh, our subbing. Our subbing is not strong right now and we talked about that. I mean, we’ve got to lock on. They’ve got plenty of poles that can bring the ball down; everybody’s capable. So we’ve got to make sure that we’re not putting the ‘exit stage left’ sign too early and that we’re not giving up numbers.”

Unfortunately, Boston found a way to neutralize the Machine’s plans, maintaining possession for the majority of the game and attempting an overwhelming 56 shots as opposed to Ohio’s 46.

Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

The transition offenses of both the Machine and Boston thrived, something that both set the teams up for many shots and, at the same time, put them in an extreme imbalance. For Boston, the greatest impact of the transition offense came in the second quarter, where Boston came down the field with numbers. Four goals were scored in the quarter, though, far too many shots and shots on goal put the Machine in unneeded pressure and tension. Giving extra-shot opportunities on possessions, the Machine did not execute their game plan correctly, granting Boston attackmen the middle of the field and off-ball advantages most of the night.

Even though six different Boston players contributed on the scoreboard, showing the overall balance possessed in the offense even in the transitional game, there were times when, as many times this season, the offense for the Cannons disappeared. Production fluctuated throughout the night, which allowed for a closer-than-intended last few minutes.

In the times that they received the ball and given the chance to score, Ohio showed balance and professionalism with the ball. Former Buckeye and impact player Logan Schuss led the charge with three goals with a night that mostly consisted of good ball movement and good shot selection. The Machine was down 16-11 with six minutes to go in the game.,

Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

In a key point in the fourth quarter, Coach Davis called a timeout for the Machine with 3:40, after which the Machine followed up with 3 quick unassisted goals, one a two-pointer, by Peter Baum, Dana Wilber, and Tom Schreiber to tie up the game in a blink of an eye at 16-16. Before any spectator knew it, the Machine were heading to overtime with momentum, looking to steal one away from a dominating Cannon club.

Boston came up with the crucial first face off  in the first-goal-wins, sudden death MLL overtime. Ohio struggled the whole game with face offs, going only 12-34 on the day between starter Bobby Datillo and Jake Bernhardt, who attempted only five face offs.  Eric O’Brien, who seemed to finally click in the face off position and made a big impact against Rochester a week ago (converting just under 50% of face offs), did not play in the game. Meanwhile, Chris Eck for Boston went a whopping 22-34 on face offs, a big factor in many of Boston’s goals.

In the first possession in overtime, Boston attempted four separate shots, pounding away at the Machine defense, before attempting a wild pass that was ruled a shot (watch – http://youtu.be/L640XeMIYrI – go to 2:33:45 [footage courtesy ~ MLL Network]). A ball that looked like a pass intended for Boston attackman Will Manny sailed out of bounds. Ruled a shot, the Cannons received the ball back and scored the winning goal just seconds later. If the ball was ruled a pass, Ohio would’ve received the ball and would have gotten a chance to score. Instead, the Cannons received the ball and scored.

So, the Machine just need “a little bit more”.

The Machine face off against New York next Saturday, and then return for a three game home stand starting July 4th.

 

PRE-GAME ~ Machine Control Playoff Destiny Heading Into Boston

The Ohio Machine control their own playoff destiny at the midpoint of the season.

Yes, you heard me right!

 

Photo Andy Long.

Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

A huge turnaround from last years’ two-win season, the Machine have been riding on newfound momentum, overall balance, and young energy to establish a solid base and building ground with the midpoint of the season quickly passing. The club sits in a cluster of four (out of eight total) MLL clubs with a 3-4 record (Boston, New York, Charlotte) with fourth place, the last playoff spot, up for control. Luckily, the surging Machine will get a chance to start their potential journey into playoff position this week with a win at Boston in one of two essential tiebreakers. New York hosts Charlotte in what is, as well, a pivotal matchup for the Machine’s path to the playoffs. In the occurrence that New York defeats Charlotte this week and Ohio beats Boston, Ohio must defeat the Lizards of New York in next week’s matchup to keep control of its playoff position. Though, if Charlotte beats New York this week and Ohio defeats Boston, then the Machine will hold 4th place outright and have a stronger grip on its playoff destiny heading into week 9, since Ohio beat Charlotte, which would be the only remaining team at 4-4, in week one of this season.

Confusing? Probably. Understand this, though — the Machine need to take it one game at a time.

In the occurrence that the Machine loses to Boston in this weeks’ matchup, the chances of the club being able to gain the coveted 4th place, playoff position will fall out of its control. Though not impossible, the team would need help in the form of other, leading clubs losing later in the season to make for a possibility of a Machine playoff birth. In the position the club is sitting in, they would be guaranteed to make the playoffs if they won the rest of their games this season. A nerve-racking aspect, the Machine has a hypothetical load on its shoulders to ensure a playoff position at the end of the year.

Luckily for Machine fans, head coach Bear Davis personally hates scoreboard watching. Starting with him and trickling down, the overall persona of the team is one of focus and continuous improvement. In his mindset, all the team needs to truly break out and subconsciously defeat the personally unseen monster task ahead of them is just a little bit more work. All of the Machine losses this season have come by two goals or less, including the 17-16 defeat against Boston earlier in the year, and the way Davis sees it, a positive, historical result this week and throughout the rest of the season isn’t a monumental feat to overcome by any means.

They’ve got everything head to toe, so for us it’s just a matter of maybe taking a couple of matchups. We’re talking about a one-goal game and there’s not a whole lot that you’re going to have to change. It’s just maybe play a little harder, getting another ground ball. It’s those little details that you’ve got to find an area to get one more possession, get one more shot, one more goal.”

The Machine will have to deliver on that state of mind this Saturday, when the team will travel to play the Boston Cannons, a team that dissected Ohio’s defense two weeks ago. In a fire-powered, edge-of-your-seat affair, the Machine defense gave up 17 goals to Boston while only scoring 16 themselves. A team that has always had the Machine’s number, the Cannons showcase the third best scoring offense in the MLL, led, in part, by attackman Will Manny, who simply was dominant against the Machine in their last meeting, scoring four goals and contributing three assists. On the season, Manny is the third-best goal scorer on the team with twelve goals. He also ranks second on the team in assists and shots on goal with 11 and 31, respectively.

I just felt like he did a great job of reading slides, getting into a dangerous space and finishing. He’s very dangerous like that, but sometimes the other five guys on the field just do an incredible job of setting up one guy, and I think that was the case in that game,” explained Machine Coach Bear Davis.

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Photo Credit ~ Spencer Hickey

Though, the Machine have a little offensive firepower of their own. Scoring 92 goals on the season, leading the MLL, the Machine offense is firing on all cylinders. A well-rounded group, no one player leads the team in more than one (meaningful) area. Peter Baum leads the team with 19 goals, while Steele Stanwick has contributed a whopping 19 assists on the year. Marcus Hollman leads the club with a jaw-dropping .471 shooting percentage, scoring 16 goals on 34 total shots, while Eric O’Brien has a club-best 47% face-off conversion percentage (43-91).

Everyone has contributed well, but not just on the offensive side of the field. Defensively, the Machine has been no slouch, allowing 82 goals on the season, the fourth best in the MLL. The defense will have a big job on its hands in controlling an offensive that lit them up with 17 goals just two weeks ago. Even in the first half last week against Rochester, the defense seemed slow and out of place, and it showed when Rochester finished the half with 9 points on the scoreboard. In the second half, though, it changed. The defense went on a tear, and as Coach Davis constantly reiterates, they did the little things right. Protecting the middle of the field, staying between each players’ man and the goal on man-to-man looks, and just simply working with more passion, the defense will look to continue its momentum against Boston.

 

WHO TO WATCH FOR:

 

THE Ohio State University Alumni — Listen for the names Greg Bice, Eric O’Brien, and Logan Schuss in any recap or coverage of tomorrow’s matchup. Major impact players for the Machine, each player massively contributes to his respective area on the team. Bice is a captain of not only the team but the defense, leading the charge to the tune of only four goals scored in the second half of last week’s game against Rochester. Additionally, O’Brien dominates weekly in the face-off circle, and Logan Schuss is fourth on the team with 20 points on the season. Together, these players have the chance to make a substantial impact in Saturday’s game. What makes it better, though, is that these players not only have a personal stake in the team, but also a personal stake in the state of Ohio and the community represented by the Ohio Machine, as each of them played lacrosse and graduated from the Ohio State University. Look for that passion and personal stake to bleed through against Boston.

 

Paul Rabil — Look for the home crowd in Boston to propel Rabil to heights that weren’t seen against Ohio two weeks ago. Even though Rabil didn’t make an impact in the teams’ last matchup against Ohio, he is one of the faces of the Boston Cannons, and is due for a big game. He leads the Cannons with a standout 31 points on the season.

 

IN COACH’S WORDS

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Photo Credit ~ Andy Long

 

“We’re on this continuous search for balance, trying to make sure we’re complementing each other in every aspect, on offense, defense, special teams. I think last weekend, especially the second half, probably showed, or at least scratched, the most potential that we’ve had yet, as far as finding that balance.” –Machine Head Coach Bear Davis

 

 

 

 

 

The Machine play at Boston on Saturday, June 21st, at 8:00 p.m.. The game can be watched live on YouTube.com on the MLL Network channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio Machine vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks Preview

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

After taking a week off to evaluate and reflect their first four games, the Ohio Machine will be in full recovery mode to take on the Chesapeake Bayhawks May 31 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD at 7pm. “Chesapeake, they [Read more…]