April 23, 2014

MLL 2014 Preview: No. 7 Ohio Machine

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

2013 Record: 2-12
Coach: Bear Davis, 2nd season

The Machine haven't had success of late, but they have a stockpile of young talent from the draft and that could make for a quick turnaround if things click. (Ohio Machine)

Drafting No. 1 overall in the collegiate draft in consecutive years means your team is losing a lot of games. But it also means that your team is stockpiling young assets.

Thanks to MLL's partnership with Adrenaline and the LXM Pro Tour, the Machine will finally suit up the top choice in 2013, Peter Baum.

"I'm excited to get in the MLL. It's something I wanted to do immediately after graduating college," Baum said. "You've got a core group with myself, Steele [Stanwick], Tommy [Schrieber], Marcus [Holman] and Logan Schuss. You look and it's an exciting roster of young players. It will be exciting on the offensive end for sure."

Thanks to their undesirable place in the standings last season, the Machine were also atop the waiver wire list when LXM players were added to the player pool after the deal was made. The Machine jumped on the ability to land former Johns Hopkins star and MLL veteran Kyle Harrison.

"In our style getting up and down the field, Kyle is one of the best that does that," Ohio head coach Bear Davis said. "We feel strongly in his veteran leadership. His style of play fits right into what we want to do. We felt we hit the jackpot."

Every team enters the season striving to win the MLL Championship, but the Machine will also be looking to climb the standings, and not select first overall next season.

While the Machine has struggled, their expansion counterparts — the Charlotte Hounds — found themselves in the championship game last season. Ohio recognizes the early success the Hounds have had and are looking to grow to get a taste of the same success on the field.

"Sometimes you have a recipe you put it in the pot and it just doesn't taste good. You don't know why," Davis said. "We have our own recipe now and we have to fix it."

Davis and Baum agree that, like Charlotte, Ohio has an identity and a strong core to build around.

"It's been two tough seasons so it's going to be a challenge but the talent they have coming in is exciting and it lays a good foundation for us," Baum said.

MVP Candidate

This article appears as part of the Major League Lacrosse preview in the May 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Start your subscription by joining US Lacrosse today!

A Steele Stanwick

Stanwick is in his third season in MLL. He is known as one of the smoothest passers in the league, has one of the highest lacrosse IQs, and has some confidence thanks to his time with Team USA. On a team filled with many other young players, Stanwick is also one of the team's leaders. "With him becoming a little bit more veteran and us building around him more I would not be surprised to see his game escalate two-fold this year," Davis said.

Next Best

A Jim Connolly, D Greg Bice, M Kyle Harrison, A Marcus Holman, M Connor Martin, A Logan Schuss

New Arrivals

M Peter Baum, FO Matt Dolente, D Brian Farrell, M Kyle Harrison, A Erik Krum, M Tom Schrieber

Adding three No. 1 draft picks, including the past two No. 1's in Baum and Schrieber (Princeton), vastly improves what was a very thin midfield group. It also allows guys like Holman and Schuss to play more attack, their natural positions. The Machine was last in faceoff winning percentage last season, so Dolente could potentially be very helpful to this team if he finds the same form he had in the 2012 season.

Behind Enemy Lines

Opposing coaches thoughts on the Machine

"Ohio is one of the more improved teams in the league. They're going to be a good team. ... I think they felt good about how they finished the season, not so much in wins and losses but how they competed. They've added Peter Baum to the mix. He'll bring a lot. ... That's gonna be a good group. Holman and Stanwick are tremendous. With Schuss, that's as good as anyone. ... I think they still struggle at the faceoff X and the goal and you can't struggle at those positions. ... They have young explosive stars. They're ready to have a breakout year."


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