By Sam Gest | 8/27/13 10:00 AM
The 2013 season was another tough one for the Ohio Machine, as their youth and inexperience shone through on many occasions during a 2-12 season, the second straight two-win season for the second-year club. But while the results weren’t always there, there were moments of brilliance for the young squad, and it’s impossible not to see the potential for this team moving forward.
The Machine got no favors from the early season schedule, as three of their first four games were against the top three teams in the league. They lost all four of those games to start the season with a 0-4 record. But the fourth game of the season, against the Hamilton Nationals marked a change of the guard for the club, as three key rookies, Logan Schuss, Marcus Holman and Dominique Alexander all made their MLL debuts.
After losing their first six games of the year, Ohio finally earned their first win in a 13-11 week seven victory over the Rochester Rattlers. However, after a 19-5 lashing at the hands of the Denver Outlaws the following week, the Machine parted ways with head coach Ted Garber, and introduced Bear Davis as their new head coach. After four near-wins, Davis finally earned his first win as an MLL coach in a 16-12 victory over the Boston Cannons in week 13. The Machine closed 2013 out with a tightly contested 14-11 loss to the New York Lizards.
Despite the last place finish, things aren’t as dim as they might seem in Ohio. First of all, many of their losses were games they easily could have won. Ohio failed to put full games together this season, but often outplayed their opponents for the majority of the game, but had quarter-long collapses where they would give up five or six consecutive goals. These games exposed the lack of experience on the squad, but the mistakes made will go away as the team continues to gel and gain experience.
Another bit of good news for the Machine is how bright the future can be if they keep all their pieces in place from this season. Though young, the roster is full of big-time players who can fill a stat sheet. In fact, each of the top five point scorers on the season are either rookies or second year players. Rookie Logan Schuss led the way for the Ohio offense, scoring 28 goals and seven assists in only 11 games. Second year attackman Steele Stanwick had 32 points, including 20 assists (good for third in the league). Also topping the stat sheet are second-year players Joe Cummings and Kiel Matisz, as well as rookie Marcus Holman
If the Machine can find stability at the faceoff X and in the cage, the talent on this team should be enough to make them a playoff contender for the 2014 season. Ohio will have one of the top picks in the upcoming collegiate draft as well, so they will be a much better-oiled Machine team than the past two years.