8/17/12 9:00 AM
The Machine’s 2012 Team MVP Kyle Hartzell, finished up an historical season in style when he scored the first goal of the game against the Boston Cannons in the Machine’s final game of the regular season.
That two-point goal gave Hartzell 21 points on the year, which broke reigning MLL Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merril’s record for most points by a defenseman in a season. Hartzell also set the record for two-point goals in a season by a defenseman with nine. Hartzell’s nine two-point goals place him the sixth in two-point goals during a single season all-time.
Hartzell’s two-point goals have been a key reason for the Machine’s competitiveness this season. Five out of Hartzell’s nine two-point goals have either tied the game or have given the Machine the lead. Hartzell also has a shooting percentage of .262, which is higher than four of the league’s top ten point-getters.
Besides being an offensive catalyst, Hartzell is also a shutdown defender and is routinely asked to cover the opposing team’s best offensive player. As an impactful take-away defender, he has been a key cog in the Machine’s transition game. Hartzell has also played a key role on the wing on face-offs, amassing 60 groundballs, which ranks him second among defenseman and fifth overall. Hartzell has also raised his game against tougher opponents: a third of Hartzell’s groundballs came against the two top teams in the league, Denver and Chesapeake, including a career high 11 against the Outlaws on July 4th.
Hartzell’s rise to a MLL All-Pro caliber player with the Machine began when the team traded for the 2010 MLL Championship Weekend MVP in October. Ohio traded its seventh round MLL Expansion Draft pick (13th overall) for Hartzell and the Bayhawks second round pick in the MLL Supplemental Draft (13th Overall).
In Hartzell’s first game with the team, he was held scoreless and only picked up one groundball. Hartzell began his transformation into a premier offensive threat the next week when he scored his first two-point goal of the season against the Charlotte Hounds. One reason for Hartzell’s offensive success can be found in Head Coach Ted Garber’s coaching philosophy. “I gave him the green light,” Garber said. “I’ve had college and pro players that do special things that other teams would try to corral, but you have to know that letting players play with their unique skill sets is part of the game.“
Hartzell’s offensive and defensive prowess earned him a spot on the All-Star game for the second consecutive year where he defended his title as the fastest shot champion by tying the world record for the fastest ever lacrosse shot at 111 mph. Heading into the offseason Hartzell will look to continue to hone his skills as a dual threat and cement his place among the top MLL defenseman in the league.