Ohio Machine Announces 12-Man Protected Roster Ahead of Expansion Draft

Machine Pieces Start To Fall In Place for 2016 Major League Lacrosse Season

 


 

File Photo - Spenser Hickey DelawareO.com

File Photo – S Hickey DelawareO.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO (October 8, 2015) – The Ohio Machine has named its 12-man protected list for the upcoming 2016 Major League Lacrosse Expansion Draft, it was announced today by Machine Vice President & Head Coach Bear Davis. The 2016 MLL Expansion Draft will take place on Wednesday, November 18 when the Atlanta Blaze is set to make its first roster moves.

Teams had the option of protecting either 10 or 12 players. The Machine protected 12 players; three attackmen, four midfielders, three defensemen, one faceoff specialist and one goalie. Included in the Machine’s 12-Man Protected List are the club’s top six scorers from last season. The Machine protected 82.3 percent of its offensive production from 2015, its starting goalie, and two of the MLL’s top four leaders in caused turnovers.

Players not protected will be eligible to be selected in the 2016 Expansion Draft. During the Expansion Draft, once a team loses three players, that team can pull a player back on its roster. From each subsequent player lost, that team can pull back another player. A team can lose a maximum of six players. Players not selected in the 2016 Expansion Draft will be eligible to return to their original teams.

 

Machine 12-Man Protected List:     Machine Unprotected Players:
Number Player Position     Number Player Position
15 Peter Baum M 23 Dominique Alexander M
3 Jake Bernhardt M 40 Jake Bailey D
4 Jimmy Bitter A 41 Kevin Cooper M
18 Kyle Harrison M 28 Jimmy Dailey A
1 Marcus Holman A 2 Dan Groot M
25 Brian Karalunas D 33 Ryan Izzo M
30 Brian Phipps G 11 Matt McMahon D
17 Jackson Place D 51 Mike Noone D
94 Greg Puskuldjian FO 42 Scott Rodgers G
26 Tom Schreiber M 20 Logan Schuss A
6 Steele Stanwick A 24 Steven Waldeck D
91 Dana Wilber D M

Source: Ohio Machine Press Release

 


 

Buckeye Valley Lady Barons Soccer To Kick For The Cure

Buckeye Valley Kicking Children’s Cancer!

 


 
Join the Buckeye Valley Junior Varsity and Varsity Lady Barron Soccer teams so you can make a difference for children and families battling pediatric cancer.

The Buckeye Valley Lady Barons are donating all the proceeds from the Kick for The Cure soccer game against Jonathan Alder on Monday, September 29, 2015 to The Lampstrong Foundation, www.lampstrong.com. This foundation is a nonprofit founded by Columbus Crew and The Ohio State University Goalkeeper, Matt Lampson. Matt is a Stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor.

The mission the the Lampstong Foundation is to provide financial, emotional and motivational support to cancer patients and their families and recognize the kids effected by this disease. The children supported by the foundation are recognized and honored as Lampstong Heros.

This past year The Lampstrong Foundation honored Junior, Buckeye Valley Lady Baron Anna Cox, a Hodgkins Lympoma survivor as a Lampstrong Hero.

Help support children like Anna by attending this game. The Junior Varsity team kicks off at 5:00pm and Varsity at 7:00pm. Additional ways to support this great cause during the game are purchasing bake sale goodies, a 50/50 raffle, t-shirt sales and purchasing concession items.

Enjoy a night out with family and friends for a great cause. Join Us for Kick For The Cure!

If you would like more information on the event, offering items for the raffle or donating, contact Jeff Cox at 898-430-4005

Source: Press Release
 

The Covert Psychological Weapon Inside High School Sports

Hey, remember that time?

We went to your high school’s basketball game together as old buddies and, even though it was a sleeper of a matchup, we decided to go. We hardly had a chance to get together and were looking for something to do. I remember the atmosphere of that game as we walked into your stoic yet historic high school gym. In its glory days, it had to be something beautiful, but it still  had a weird romantic sense draped over it like a fine, invisible coating of primer on the roughly whitewashed walls. I think you were wearing your letter jacket, trying to look pretty as the senior girls were looking on from the ever-nearing student section. We stepped down those little steps entering the room, beholding the barbaric matchup between us as we rehashed an old-yet-timeless joke in small conversation and paid for admission. You have to remember hearing the sharp screech of the players making sharp turns on the floor in pursuit of the bouncing, thump-producing basketball. If you close your eyes, you could probably see the ball swishing through the net as we looked for a smart angle to dart to the bleachers, which were across the floor from where we entered.

delawareo.com

It was a packed house, we realized, as we neared the stands. Everyone was sitting down, having a grand social time. I mean, as if these people didn’t see each other enough, we entered into a sea full of chatter as I sat beside some of your friends in the student section. Conversations ranged widely and sporadically – “Where should we eat afterwards?”… and… “That test was so hard today!” were a few of the expressions I caught as I met some of your friends. We talked it up! What a fun time that was.

Wait… Who ended up winning the game?

Maybe that’s why you don’t remember that game… because it was never really about the game in the first place. I think we may have been inadvertently conspiring in a growing epidemic among American teenagers. I mean, are high school sporting events really just social events?

One may think of the players playing and the gyms housing the competition. Does playing in a team’s “home” gym aid their state of mind as opposed to visiting an opposing school?

A skeptic may point to the simplicity of sports which presents itself regardless of circumstances — Two teams, one victor. The beautiful thing about sports remains, though, in the fact that high school sports most certainly double as an entertainment form for various onlookers, fans, parents, and friends sitting on the bleachers. Since players and spectators are all of the same glorious species, support or rejection from these spectators should vastly affect a team’s mindset, an element seen time and time again in every level of sports. Logically, this type of audial and visual influence would undoubtedly affect the quality of play by the team in the crosshairs, an element that would directly affect the game’s outcome.

So, following this logic, why didn’t you and I take up the gauntlet for our stake of the game? In our fallen world, both you and I attended a game where we didn’t even know who was playing, let alone who won. The hypothetical, aforementioned gym we were both in was dead enough to allow cob webs to form on the ceiling.

Something deadly to the game exploded in a deafening case of demure yet extravagant chatter, like little cockroaches scattering through a ruin that was recently eradicated of all human life.

Everyone should remember the sound of a crowd roaring as the iconic Alan Parsons Project tune “Sirius” blasted over speakers as the hearty, memorable announcer proclaimed the names of the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup, creating an atmosphere of true fire and wrapping up the festivity with the introduction of Mr. Michael Jordan. Those fans were keyed in, screaming their loudest as the lights were dimmed. Of course, those people paid a lot more cash to get into those games, and the Chicago Bulls had some spotlights and a video board, but something tells me that the game of basketball played at its purest does not just keep people ecstatic. Those games were true experiences.

At Delaware Christian, the high school which this writer attends, our gym is relative to the size of our school – small. Big enough to sit around 225-250 people or so  at its fullest, it has two speakers hoisted from the ceiling facing the bleachers, controlled by a mobile system that almost resembles a DJ stand that plugs into a rather aged connection in the wall leading to the speakers. The mobile control panel opens up to reveal a soundboard with standard microphone and sound inputs – the usual. Sometimes, while playing music or speaking too loud, the system will cut out for some odd reason, signaling maybe a short in the connection. With the connection shorting at weird and, usually, the worst times, the operator must finagle the connection directly or adjust the level of bass or treble through the equalizer on the sound board to try to eliminate the problem. I have used this system regularly over the last three years to announce sports games in our school, and from every aspect, we need to just air out the obvious: We are not the old-time Chicago Bulls.

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PHOTO CREDIT ~ Delaware Christian Athletics Facebook

Though, without arrogance, I would confidently and unabashedly say that Delaware Christian’s game experience and production are second to few.

1779037_785573718124825_1482184392_nWait, before you scoff at me and hit the dreaded red “X” in the top right corner or this page, consider this: state-of-the-art audio technology doesn’t guarantee state-of-the-art psychology, and average audio technology doesn’t guarantee average psychology.

That is all that this is, right? Psychology at its purest – How do you create a slight home-court advantage for your team,  trigger the emotions of the spectators, and hide those two goals all at the same time to make for a fun, memorable overall experience?

That’s what the Chicago Bulls had right back in the day. They had it all – the right music, the right announcer, the right colors on the spotlights, the right timing, the right players, which made for the right fans. They had everything state-of-the-art and delivered on that standard. The Bulls won multiple championships during that era.

What if, though, the psychology behind high school sports could be innovative in a different ways?

 

What if…

…the role of an announcer was taken seriously?

I contend, from experience, that no better asset can be held by a high school sports announcer than pure “passion”. That may be the psychology inside the psychology – One cannot sell a product to someone else without believing in it himself. Experience will come, decision making speed will come, and general fluidity and comfort-ability will come as with anything worked on in life. I contend that an announcer would be one step ahead of the game to truly treat his job like a “job” and work to be the best at it.

…preparation was next to perfection?

With passion comes thought, and with thought comes preparation. Unlike any other job, a sports announcer can manipulate the circumstances to fit his needs best, with the main goal of producing a great performance. With passion should come the need for preparation, a step which will grow an announcer the most. Personally, I prefer to prepare for games by preparing my music the night before. Over about six years of announcing, I have built up a rather large personal music library as cheaply as I have been able to, nabbing deals that pop up regularly on internet stores such as ITunes and Google Play. From that library, I pick out about fifty songs out of my library to put in a playlist that will fit the coming game as much as possible. If the opponent is Tree of Life Christian School, for example, one of the songs I pick may be Trees by Twenty One Pilots, a song that can be explicitly used within context for that matchup. I try to pick a playlist that will not only keep the audience tuned into the game and the players pumped up, but that could tell a story, an element that I try to implant into games to leave people thinking about lyrics or tunes in songs after the night is over. Going to a Christian school, I have the privilege of making some of those lyrics reflective of my faith, for example, to make people think, within the context of the game, differently then they would without music and announcing.

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Shure 55SH Series 2 Microphone – Shure Stock Photo

google-nexus-7-2

Google Nexus 7

One could also be preparative in other ways, such as purchasing personal equipment to ensure maximum performance on the announcer’s end. Personally, I bring three things along with me to every game I announce: my Shure 55SH Series 2 microphone, a Google Nexus 7 tablet (for music), and a cord to connect that to the sound system. These instruments have served me beautifully in aiding the effort to produce a good performance on the production end.

Most importantly, though, preparation is most key in word pronunciation and preparation for speaking as an announcer. At Delaware Christian, I play the in-game role of both announcer and DJ/Music Guy most of the time, so this sometimes gets overlooked, but credibility can’t be ruined faster than from a mispronounced name. An announcer needs to be sensitive to name pronunciations!

Overall, the reason for preparation is not self-centered in the least bit, but, rather, to do one’s best to give the home team a little mental advantage and for the onlookers to think and have fun all at the same time.

…game production was a team sport?

It is rather unfair the credit the announcer can get comparable to everything going on behind the scenes of a good operation. Most of the time, the announcer purely serves as a pretty cover for rather jumbled numbers behind the scenes. The people that work towards a better game experience by keeping score, gathering lineups, keeping track of little stats and details, setting up the technical equipment beforehand, and suggesting new material and music for the game are the people who deserve to be in the spotlight. Just as no one person has ever won anything in a team sport, an announcer who tries to do it all will fail miserably (I know from experience!). When a team comes in who knows what they are doing, that plays their designed positions to the best of their ability off of the floor, it frees up (notably) announcer to try new things and make the game on the hardwood more enjoyable for everyone looking on and participating.

 

These what ifs have become Delaware Christian’s why nots. I believe we are a step ahead of the game. Though we will never be perfect, as no one can, we can work to help our organization’s face and performance in the subtle, yet extravagant ways. We put these and more into practice each game and are constantly looking for different ways to aid the spectator’s feelings and mindset about the game at hand, which, in turn, extremely affects the mindset of the players and, therefore, the overall quality of the experience.

You will remember the next game we go to, my friend.

 

delawareo.com

Ohio Machine President and General Manager Steps Down.

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Bear Davis and Gregg Klein  to split Ohio Machine management responsibilities

 COLUMBUS, OHIO (September 26, 2014) – The Ohio Machine announced today that team President & General Manager John Algie will step down from his position effective October 3, 2014. Machine Vice President & Head Coach Bear Davis will assume the responsibility for lacrosse operations. Current Director of Corporate Partnerships Gregg Klein will assume responsibilities for the Machine’s business operations.

“It’s been an absolute privilege for me to be a part of the founding of the Ohio Machine,” Algie said. “I’m grateful to all of our wonderful fans, partners and supporters for believing in this team and helping us to grow from just an idea to an exciting playoff team in only three seasons. We have such an amazing group of players, coaches and front office staff in place which makes this the right time for me to transition out while they work to take the team to the next level. The future is bright for the Ohio Machine and Ohio lacrosse and I’m proud to say I’ve played a role in that.”

Algie joined the Machine in April 2011 as the team’s first employee after Major League Lacrosse announced the expansion club in January 2011. In his three and a half years at the helm of the team, Algie guided the Machine to success on and off the field. Off the field, Algie secured partnerships with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Skyline Chili, Donatos Pizza and many more.

On the field, Algie built the Machine roster through the collegiate and supplemental drafts and through key player acquisitions via trades and waiver additions. In 2014, the Machine led MLL in offense and made the MLL Playoffs for the first time in club history. Under Algie, Machine players have made 12 All-Star game appearances, won three Offensive Player of the Week awards, four Defensive Player of the Week awards and four Rookie of the Week awards. Two Machine players were also named to the All-MLL team, Kyle Hartzell in 2012 and Peter Baum in 2014.

Prior to joining the Machine, Algie worked as an attorney for the international law firm of Jones Day. No stranger to Major League Lacrosse, Algie spent three seasons as the MLL’s Director of League Operations where his responsibilities included implementation and enforcement of the league’s on-field and player personnel rules, college and pro player scouting, and game operations management. He was also one of the primary catalysts for MLL’s change from a 45-second to the 60-second shot clock that has been in effect since the 2005 season and also served two terms as the Chair of the MLL’s Rules Committee. Overall, Algie has held a full-time, managerial position in MLL for eight of the league’s 14 seasons.

Algie is a Trustee for the Delaware County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, where he serves as President, the Recording Secretary for the Ohio Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, and a member of the Pitt Business Alumni Association Board. Algie will rejoin Jones Day following his time with the Machine.

The Delaware County Fair:  Ponder the Past and Prepare for a Blast

delawareo.com

Hungry as horse at the fairgrounds
Hungry as horse at the fairgrounds

Delaware County Fair’s history and tradition leads makes the fair what it is today.

So it’s almost time for the Delaware County Fair.  While dinner options might include fried candy bars and pepperoni sticks, or perhaps a trip to the Buckeye Valley booth for healthier fare, there was a time when the county fair meant [Read more…]

Pacers beat Barons 30-6 In Delaware’s Traditional Football Rivalry Game.

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For both coaches, the showdown between Delaware’s Hayes Pacers and Buckeye Valley Barons was their first game at the helm in front of a packed Buckeye Valley stadium. Despite a tight first half, [Read more…]

Peter Buam of the Ohio Machine Named to All-MLL Team

Attacker Peter Baum charges off the sideline before scoring the final Machine goal to clinch the win. - Photo Spenser Hickey DelawareO.com

Attacker Peter Baum charges off the sideline before scoring the final Machine goal to clinch the win. – Photo Spenser Hickey DelawareO.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO (August 22, 2014) – Major League Lacrosse announced today that Ohio Machine midfielder Peter Baum was named to the 2014 All-MLL Team. Baum earned the honor after his first season in MLL and leading all midfielders in goals with 35. Baum is one of three midfielders named to the roster of 12 on the All-MLL Team.
“I’ve never played on an offense with a talent level that even approaches that of our team,” Baum said. “That luxury allowed me to just focus on the things I do well. Going back to the midfield after playing my final three years of college at attack was a nice adjustment, and my teammates really helped me with the transition.”

Baum anchored the Machine offense all season and was the only player to play in all 15 games for the Machine. He finished the regular season tied for seventh in the league, and first on the Machine, with 50 points. His 35 goals were second on the Machine to Marcus Holman who led the league with 37 goals. Baum led the Machine in goals in six games, including the team’s first-ever playoff game, and led the team in points five times. Seven times in 2014, Baum scored three or more goals in a game.

“I am so thankful to have been able to come into the league with the support of such a fantastic team and organization,” Baum said. “The Ohio Machine and the Ohio lacrosse community in general have made this a very special summer for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I can’t wait to be back next season with our incredible coaches and fans, fighting to make it back to the playoffs and win a MLL championship.”

During the regular season, Baum was the only player in the league to score at least one goal in every regular season game in 2014. Baum is the second Machine player to earn a spot on the All-MLL Team, joining former Machine defenseman Kyle Hartzell who was named to the All-MLL Team following the 2012 season.

Season tickets for the Machine’s 2015 season are now on sale and range from General Admission at $92 to a Field Level Box at $2,400 and include seven regular season home games plus a 2015 MLL playoff game. Information on 2015 season tickets can be found at http://www.theohiomachine.com/2015seasontickets or by calling 614-754-1973.

Source Ohio Machine

 

2014 All-MLL Team

Player Team Position
John Galloway Rochester Goalie
Tucker Durkin Florida Defense
Michael Manley Rochester Defense
Joel White Rochester Defense
Lee Zink Denver Defense
Greg Gurenlian New York Faceoff Specialist
Peter Baum Ohio Midfield
Paul Rabil Boston Midfield
Jeremy Sieverts Denver Midfield
Casey Powell Florida Attack
John Grant Jr. Denver Attack
Rob Pannell New York Attack

Ohio Machine Promotes Bear Davis to Vice President & Head Coach

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Coach Bear Davis, Ohio Machine. File Photo, DelawareO.com

BEAR DAVIS TO JOIN MACHINE FRONT OFFICE FULL-TIME;
PROMOTED TO VICE PRESIDENT & HEAD COACH

The Ohio Machine, Ohio’s Major League Lacrosse team, announced today that Bear Davis has been promoted to Vice President & Head Coach. As part of the promotion, Davis will join the front office on a full-time basis. In addition to his responsibilities as head coach, Davis will help expand the Machine’s ticket sales and community relations efforts.

“Bear has made a profound impact on our team and community in a relatively short time,” Machine President & General Manager John Algie said. “Allowing Bear to come home to Ohio and devote his full attention to our organization is the next step in our evolution. I’m even more optimistic for the future of the Machine and lacrosse in Ohio with Bear as a full-time member of the Machine’s front office.”

Davis, a Hilliard High School alum, joined the Machine on June 24, 2013 when he was named the second head coach in club history. In 2014, Davis has led the Machine to a 8-6 regular season record and guided the team to its first-ever playoff appearance. The Machine’s six game improvement over its 2013 record is tied for the largest single-season turnaround in Major League Lacrosse history.

“I am excited to be coming back home to Ohio to continue the momentum we’ve built this season on and off the field,” Davis said. “Ohio lacrosse has given so much to me and I am eager to return to where it all started and to contribute to the success of the Machine and the growth of the sport.”

Under Davis, the Machine posted the top-ranked offense in Major League Lacrosse in 2014. The team ended the regular season with five straight wins, which tied for the longest winning streak in MLL this season. On offense, the Machine boasted four players that scored 27 or more goals, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in the league since the 2004 season. Davis was the runner-up for the Brine Coach of the Year award this season.

Prior to joining the Machine full-time, Davis was the head boy’s lacrosse coach and associate athletic director at Archbishop Spalding High School (Md.). Davis took over at Archbishop Spalding after building the men’s lacrosse program at Robert Morris University over the span of seven seasons as the program’s first-ever head coach. Robert Morris led the NCAA in scoring offense for two straight seasons under Davis. Prior to Robert Morris, Davis helped start the Wheeling Jesuit men’s lacrosse program and guided the Cardinals to a No. 10 national ranking in 2003.

 

Source, Ohio Machine.

 

WRAP-UP ~ Machine Loses Grip On Playoffs With Season-Ending Defeat

A story like this does not deserve this ending.

Ohio Machine Logo ~ Courtesy of Ohio Machine

Ohio Machine Logo ~ Courtesy of Ohio Machine

The Ohio Machine, in the first playoff game the team has ever seen, fell to the Rochester Rattlers by a score of 15-11 in the Major League Lacrosse playoff semifinal game on the afternoon of Saturday, August 16th, 2014.

Rochester broke away from the surging Machine, which had never before seen a deficit in the game, in the fourth quarter, scoring five unanswered goals and leaving the Machine out of time for any more comeback.

Kevin Leveille, Justin Turri, Jordan Wolf, and Miles Thompson each had a hand in scoring in the fourth quarter for the Machine, the factor which ultimately drained the Machine of its 2014 life.

Even though the fourth quarter ended in Rochester domination, the first quarter started off with fluidity from the Machine, as Marcus Holman, LoganIMGP6833 Schuss, and Kevin Cooper knocked in three consecutive goals within the first five minutes of the match to knock Rochester off its feet and come out with a start that reflected their regular-season ending five game winning streak. Long possessions on offense, a 75% face off percentage (6-8), and early defensive stops accompanied by a late Ohio penalty kill created a dead silent atmosphere in Rochester and a dream start for the young Machine squad. After the three goal run early, a timeout by Rochester couldn’t stop Marcus Holman from adding another goal to make the Machine lead 4-0 with 9:33 to go in the quarter. Though Rochester responded with goals (inconsecutive) by Mark Cockerton, Kevin Leveille, and Dave Lawson, Schuss and Kyle Harrison responded with goals of their own to complete a Machine-dominated, 6-3 first round.

The second quarter started playing to a different tune than the first, as the Machine’s inability to pick up neither a ground ball nor the first three face offs provided for multiple Rochester goals. The Rattlers scored two goals (Macintosh, Wolf), both within the nine-minute mark of the quarter. A Machine power play, though, allowed for a continuation of Ohio’s lead, as a goal by Peter Baum kept the club in the lead at 7-5. After a response by Dave Lawson for the Rattlers, putting Rochester within one, Baum added his second of the quarter to slam the door on Rochester and to end the half with the Machine owning a two-goal cushion.

IMGP4272After halftime, the Machine started the third quarter the way it started the game itself, scoring just a minute and a half out of the gate by the stick of Peter Baum to increase the Machine’s lead to three goals. Even though the Machine still made equal impact offensively as they did in the first two quarters, play decidedly became more even as Rochester began to find its legs on defense and began to pick up more ground balls and face offs. By the end of the third quarter, the Rattlers had managed to claw their way back within one because of three goals by Kevin Leveille and one by Jordan Wolf to make for a 11-10 Machine lead.

Going into the fourth quarter, one could feel a slow and steady decrease of Ohio Machine stamina, or even that “oiled-up” charisma seen so many times in the regular season. Like jello or “flubber”, per say, the average fan might have felt the sensation of his game and his team slipping towards the floor in one giant mass, especially after trying to grip onto it harder. In a grand disaster of surrendered ground balls, missed face offs, and one-step-behind defensive play by the Machine, the Rattlers started to outwork and outsmart the young team from Delaware, Ohio, tying the game three minutes into the quarter. Though much time was left, one could feel that it was only a matter of time before the team from New York broke away. One could sense and see the gaining strength of Rochester coming at the expense of weakening morale for Ohio. About 8 minutes into the quarter, it proved too much for the Machine to handle. A multiple-chance Rochester offensive possession resulted in a goal by Justin Turri, one that would put Rochester in the lead and keep them there for the remainder of the match. Two more goals were scored against the Machine within the same minute, and, despite some offensive effort, Ohio stayed silent to take the death of the 2014 season. Kevin Leveille put the nails in the hypothetical coffin by scoring with just under five minutes to go to put Rochester in the lead by four goals, 15-11.

Leveille was named the definitive Most Valuable Player of the game, scoring 6 goals to notch a game-leading six total points on the night. Leading the way for the Rattlers, Leveille was followed by Jordan Wolf, who added an additional three goals and two assists for Rochester.

 The face off X proved to be one of the main factors in deciding a victor in the four-goal spread. The Ohio duo of Eric O’Brien and Bobby Datillo went a combined 13-30 in their respective chances, while Rochester acheived an opposing 17-30 to gain four more possessions than the Machine. Additionally, Ohio only grabbed 32 ground balls as opposed to Rochester’s 44, creating a whopping 16-possession differential just between those two statistics.

Though, in a bright spot for the Machine, Logan Schuss had an impressive offensive showing, scoring two goals and adding a team-leading three assists to lead the Machine with five points. Peter Baum also added three goals for the club, leading the team.

High spots such as Schuss and Baum show this writer why not to lambast this club in this, a final look at the game and the whole Ohio Machine season. Looking back, one can remember when the club would have disastrous second quarters en route to bursting out in the third quarter, or the times when the offense would be in a stalemate and the defense just could not seem to communicate properly. Obviously, one cannot just sit here and make excuses for blowing a multiple goal lead held for most of the game. The team’s hidden woes all year long, defense and retrieving ground balls, two categories in which the Machine ranked near the bottom of the MLL all year, plus the addition of the overall youth of the club, made for an amplification of an overall imbalance on the grand stage categorized by substantially less possessions than the opposition. In reality, the Machine choked themselves off from winning the playoff semifinal.

Even though the result can be analyzed much deeper than previously described, this writer is inclined to take a step back and realize why this is ultimately an improvement, a stepping stone for the Ohio Machine. All year, the pet phrase “coming up a bit short” has been used to describe the various woes the team has endured, and (mostly) overcome, this year. Always the squad seemed one step behind, usually falling behind early in the game only to take the lead with seconds to spare, to rob the opposition of time and steal the result of games that the other team may have felt comfortable with. Always so close. Almost there.

Well, tonight, one can believe that the Ohio Machine truly broke out of that shell this afternoon. Instead of staying within the boundaries of the status quo, the club scored four unanswered goals to begin the game and held what looked to be an indescribable swagger and passion on the field for the first three quarters of the game.

Unfortunately, it proved to be a swagger and passion that was stored in a bottle, a potion that had a limit, as the Machine ran out of it going into the fourth quarter.

There, though, is where the real hope lies for the future, because intead of “coming just a bit short”, the Ohio Machine simply “ran out of oil” for 2014. Even though there are still noticeable problems to be fixed, such as where to increase this “oil-count” for 2015, this writer is inclined to believe that the Ohio Machine took a step on Saturday that few sports teams can take in present day: acheiving control of themselves and their game, going on a five game winning streak to end the regular season, having true momentum and camaradere.

They just lost grip, a grip to be rediscovered in 2015.

 

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.