With the growth of lacrosse increasing at such a rapid speed in Ohio, it is only logical for Ohio’s first Major League Lacrosse team to bring in talent that is in its own backyard. Since its inaugural season, the Ohio Machine has had 11 Ohio State University players and seven Ohio natives join the roster plus Ohio native coaches leading the way.
The Machine currently has seven Ohio State alumni including most recent graduates Dominique Alexander, Kevin Mack and Logan Schuss on its 2013 roster. From 2010 to 2013, Alexander, Mack and Schuss played for OSU together and took their team to an ECAC Championship and the 2013 NCAA Quarterfinals. Schuss also became the all-time leader in OSU history for points (237) and goals (146) and is second all-time in assists (91).
On top of the rookies, the Machine acquired veteran presence in Ohio State alums Eric O’Brien, Stefan Schroder, Greg Bice and Matt Cafarelli. Bice, who helps lead the Machine on and off the field as co-captain, made a name for himself at OSU from 2001 to 2004. As a four-year started at OSU, Bice helped lead the Buckeyes to the NCAA finals in 2003 and 2004 on top of being named 2004 Great Western Lacrosse League Conference Player of the Year. Cafarelli also played alongside Bice from 2001 to 2004 at OSU and was a two-time captain, 2001 Big Ten Scholar Athlete and 2004 OSU Co-MVP. In their senior season, Bice and Cafarelli were joined by O’Brien who continued to play from 2004 to 2007. O’Brien played all four season for OSU and was named OSU’s 2007 Most Improved Player and 2007 Academic All-Big Ten, as well as winning the 2005 and 2007 OSU Groundball Award. Schroder also played for the Buckeyes in 2007 and 2008 where he was named a 2008 All American and 2007 OSU Defensive MVP.
Between all seven OSU players, more than 330 games were played wearing the OSU uniform with 210 goals and 149 assists tallied for the Buckeyes.
Not only did the Machine stack its roster with talented OSU players, it also brought on local home grown Ohio talent. Midfielder and second year player Marshall Burkhart is the only player to come out of Dublin Jerome High School in Columbus to play in MLL. Before going to Johns Hopkins and later to the Machine, Burkhart helped lead Dublin Jerome to a state championship in 2005, as well as 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Emerald Cup Championships. The Machine also went after Ohio lacrosse powerhouse Upper Arlington High School alum Max Schmidt. Before graduating in 2007, Schmidt helped lead the Golden Bears to four back-to-back state championships and the 2004 and 2007 Midwest Championships.
The Machine didn’t stop at players having the Ohio ties but continued with its coaching staff as well. In the recent hiring of Head Coach Bear Davis, the Machine brought on a Hilliard Davidson alum and Columbus native. Davis, who currently coaches at Archbishop High School in Maryland, grew up in Hilliard, Ohio, and began his lacrosse tenure at Hilliard Davidson High School and graduated in 1992. Assistant Coach Bill Wolford has also made a name for himself as part of the Ohio lacrosse community. Also an Ohio State alum, Wolford is currently the assistant girls lacrosse coach at Worthington Kilbourne after serving as the Kilbourne boy’s head coach from 1992-2006 and Upper Arlington boy’s head coach from 1987-1991.
Even though lacrosse is not recognized yet as a varsity sport in Ohio, it won’t be long before it is with the talent that has been pouring out of this Midwest state and the levels its alums and natives have reached in such a short period of time.