Despite Loss in Home Opener, the Future Seems Bright for the Ohio Machine
After winning just one of their first three games on the road to begin the season, the Ohio Machine returned to central Ohio Saturday night against the New York Lizards for the 2014 home opener. Despite an early lead, the Machine (1-3) came up short, falling 11-9.
The Machine, who play at Selby Stadium on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, are in their third season of Major League Lacrosse (MLL). The MLL, which began play in 2001, consists of eight teams from Boston, Charlotte, Chesapeake, Denver, Florida, New York, Rochester, and Ohio. The Ohio Machine joined the league in 2012, and have struggled up to this point, going just 2-12 in each of their first two seasons. However, their roster is filled with the kind of talent that makes the future of the organization seem bright. For example, the team has three winners of the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is the award given annually to the most outstanding player in college lacrosse. Machine leading scorer Peter Baum won the award in 2012, while teammates Steele Stanwick and Kyle Harrison won the award in 2011 and 2005, respectively. The Machine also have Marcus Holman, who is a member of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team, along with Stanwick and Harrison.
There are some local roots on the Machine as well, with former Ohio State Buckeyes Greg Bice, Dominique Alexander, Eric O’Brien, and Logan Schuss on the squad. In addition, Max Schmidt, a former Upper Arlington High School standout is on the team.
On Saturday night, before a crowd of 3,944, Baum, the 2013 number one overall draft pick, got the momentum rolling early for the Machine, scoring two goals in the first three minutes and three seconds. Tom Schreiber, last year’s overall number one draft pick, scored two and a half minutes later for Ohio to make it 3-0. However, New York responded with four straight goals to give the Lizards the 4-3 lead.
Schreiber answered with his second goal of the night to tie the score at four midway through the second quarter. After New York scored once more, the former Buckeye, Schuss, tied it at five heading into halftime.
Just fourteen seconds into the third quarter, another former Buckeye, O’Brien, scored to give the Machine a 6-5 lead. Harrison added to margin a little over a minute later when he scored his sixth goal of the season to make it 7-5. However, New York again scored four consecutive goals to go ahead 9-7, before Schreiber was finally able to stop the bleeding with his third goal of the night to bring Ohio back within one, 9-8. Though, the Lizards scored again with seventeen seconds left in the third quarter to make it 10-8.
New York scored once more just under three minutes into the fourth quarter to widen their lead to 11-8. With just over six minutes left in the game, Baum scored his third goal of the evening and twelfth of the season for the Machine to make it 11-9, where the score remained for the rest of the game.
After the game, Head Coach Bear Davis talked about the loss.
“We’re relying on some young guys offensively, and I think offense, like in any sport, takes a little bit of time. It’s unfortunate that we’re not producing more at this point because we should be. We’re not completely young. We have some guys that have played in this league for awhile, so there are just no excuses. We’ve just got to get better. So we’re going to go back, break down the film, and see where we can improve”.
The Machine have a couple of weeks to make some of those improvements. They go back on the road for their next game on May 31st, before returning to Selby Stadium on Friday, June 6th against the Boston Cannons.
Even if you’re not familiar with the game of lacrosse, the event was filled with a lot of excitement. Coach Davis talked about the appeal of the sport.
“If you don’t know lacrosse very well, I think people like it because generally it’s high scoring. It’s got a shot clock. If you know a little bit about basketball, and maybe you know a little bit about soccer, and a little bit about football, you’ll find something in our sport that you can relate to. It’s a blend of all of that. People that really don’t know lacrosse will still be able come out and enjoy it. They’ll find a sport that they do like and relate it, and they’ll see it in lacrosse”.
Beyond the intrigue of the game itself, the family friendly event featured a variety of festivities to engage the fans, capped off by a fireworks show at the conclusion of the game.
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More information about upcoming Ohio Machine games can be found at: www.theohiomachine.com.