Leading up to the Ohio Machine’s 2013 training camp, the Machine is breaking down the individual positions of the team continuing with the defenders. They are the players that apply the pressure upon the opposing team’s attackmen to try to win back the ball to transition to the offense. Strength and physicality with quick footwork are the most sought out qualities in a defender.
What’s interesting about the Machine’s defense
is the veteran presence with the top defenders, Greg Bice, Kyle Hartzell, Ray Megill and Max Schmidt, having played in a combined 199 total games over the past eight seasons. Last year alone the four defensemen accounted for 40% of the Machine’s total groundballs and 73% of the Machine’s total two-point goals.
Kyle Hartzell was a starter as a long-stick midfielder last season leading the team both in groundballs (60) and two-point goals (9), which also set a MLL record for most two-point goals by a defenseman. Hartzell totaled 21 points for the season breaking six-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merril’s record for most points by a defenseman in a season. Hartzell’s nine two-point goals place him sixth in two-point goals during a single season all-time. He was also a 2012 All-Star and named to All-MLL.
As an eight-year veteran on the inaugural squad, Greg Bice was relied upon heavily for his leadership skills and physicality in the Machine’s first season. As co-captain, Bice played in 13 of the 14 games and collected 28 groundballs, as well as scored two goals while picking up one assist for three points.
In his sixth MLL season, Ray Megill recorded a career-best season with a career high in groundballs (36), goals (5) and points (7). Megill’s season also landed him fifth among MLL defensemen for goals in 2012. Megill enters into the Machine’s second season as one of the main veterans that can anchor the defensive unit and looks to follow up with another outstanding year.
Max Schmidt returned to Ohio to play in his home state with the Machine for its inaugural season and made a statement in his first year in MLL. The Upper Arlington graduate collected 33 groundballs and had a total of four points from one two-point goal and two assists. Prior to MLL, Schmidt was a four-year starter for University of Maryland where he received 2011 and 2010 USILA Honorable Mentions, an All-American and a 2009 All ACC.
Even with the veteran defense presence coming back from last season on the roster, the battle for the defensive positions will be a competitive one during camp with returning Machine players Matt Cafarelli, Audi Glass and Joe Smith, as well as the new additions of Diogo Godoi, Tim Kaiser, Matt Kawamoto and Matt Silvia.
Machine veteran Matt Cafarelli did not see any playing time with the team last season but brings to the table his defense experience from The Ohio State University. Cafarelli, who played four seasons for the Buckeyes, was a two-time captain for OSU and named a 2001 Big Ten Scholar Athlete, 2002 OSU Most Improved Player and 2004 Co-MVP.
Audi Glass also did not see any playing time during the Machine’s inaugural season. Glass attended Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada, where he was a three-time CUFLA All-Canada and co-winner of the 2008 CUFLA Most Valuable Graduating Player, as well as team captain.
One of the new players to the Machine, Diogo Godoi, is a graduate from University of Massachusetts and enters into his fourth season in MLL. Godoi previously played for Chicago before settling in Rochester for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. During his time with Rochester, Godoi played in 13 games and scooped up 23 groundballs. Godoi was a Tewaaraton Trophy candidate in 2010 with UMass when he was also named a 2010 USILA Third Team All-American and 2012 First Team All-New England.
Tim Kaiser enters his second season in MLL after playing in three games for the Chesapeake Bayhawks during the 2012 season. Prior to joining MLL, Kaiser was a four-year starter as a defenseman at the University of North Carolina. While attending UNC, Kaiser collected 174 ground balls and 62 caused turnovers in 57 games. He was a two-time USILA All-American and First Team All-ACC selection, as well as being awarded the Turnbull Trophy as the team's most outstanding player.
Matt Kawamoto played four seasons with The Ohio State University at defense and played in a total of 59 games and scooped up 75 groundballs. Kawamoto was ranked third all-time for caused turnovers with 32. While with the Buckeyes, Kawamoto was named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, USILA All-American Honorable Mention and All-ECAC First Team in 2011, All-Great Western Lacrosse League Second Team in 2009 and an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten in 2008.
Bellarmine alum and Ohio native Matt Silvia is another fresh face who now returns to Ohio to play with the Machine for his first season in MLL. The Olentangy High School alum appeared in 49 games for Bellarmine and picked up 52 groundballs and was named team Defensive MVP in 2012.
Halfway through the 2012 season, the Machine traded for seven-year MLL veteran Joe Smith who played in three games and collected one groundball during his Machine debut. Smith previously played for Toronto, Chicago and Rochester appearing in 60 games and collecting 65 groundballs.
With the 2013 training camp in April quickly approaching, players and coaching staff have a lot of preparing to do to get ready for all of these talented players vying for the three coveted defensive positions.
To see these guys in action don't forget to get your tickets today! Season tickets and May Days package are available for purchase for the 2013 season. Season tickets start at $80 - click here to check out all the seasont icket options. May Days package includes a ticket to each of the three Machine home games in May for only $45 - click here for more details.
2013 Ohio Machine Position Battles: