By Brian Bender | 8/4/14 2:50 PM
In the landscape of Major League Lacrosse, quick passes and acrobatic goals often get the majority of the attention. Fans of the Machine can agree after bearing witness to the number one offense in the league that features a dynamic attack and midfield groups. However, there’s one group often gets overlooked when watching a Machine game; the defense.
Defense might not garner the attention or highlight packages that come on the offensive side of the ball, but the play of this group has anchored the Machine all season long.
“The defense has played tough and competitive this season,” assistant coach and defensive coordinator Tom Mariano said. “There are a lot of moments each game where we are making plays. We have a really good group of defensemen that have all bought into the team defense aspect.”
As a unit the Machine currently have the third best penalty kill in the league. As a team, the Machine has killed 72 percent of its man-down situations while allowing opponents to score only 12 times with the extra player.
Defense is a team effort and the Machine have several long pole defensemen who have been vital to their success this season. Greg Bice, Brian Farrell, Max Schmidt, Steve Waldeck, Chad Wiedmaier and Dana Wilber have held down the defensive side of the ball. But there is more to the defensive game than shutdown defense.
The transition game is key to a defense’s ability to control the pace of play. Farrell is second among all long poled defensemen in Major League Lacrosse with 10 points. Keeping with the theme of consistency Farrell’s points have come from five goals and five assists. Bice and Wilber have each added a two point goal on the season as well.
Behind the solid set of long poles, the Machine is anchored by a pair of goalies. Both Brian Phipps and Scott Rodgers have played between the pipes this season for the Machine and communication has been key for both net minders.
“Brian (Phipps) is a very good leader and an even better communicator,” Mariano said. “He’s our comfort blanket back there and the guys can count on him to be there. He doesn’t care about stats, just winning.”
“Phipps and Scotty do a great job communicating with the defense,” Farrell said.
The Machine returns to Selby Stadium for Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, August 9 at 7 p.m. See the team shut down the Florida Launch in person by getting your tickets now! To purchase your tickets, click HERE or call 614-754-1973.