Lots of great combinations come in threes. The three musketeers, the three amigos and the three stooges were all comprised of three members contributing in different facets to make the group run like a well-oiled machine. The defensive midfield for the Ohio Machine applies this principal to the game of lacrosse.
Dominique Alexander, Jake Bernhardt and Dan Groot comprise the defensive midfield this season for the Machine. As a unit their consistency helps push the style of play the team plays on both defense and offense.
“They have been very good this season,” Machine assistant coach and defensive coordinator Tom Mariano said of the group. “They bring a lot of competitive toughness to our defense and play with energy and passion when they are out there. No doubt they have been a big part of us.”
Holding true to our aforementioned groups of three, each member of the Machine’s defensive midfield brings something different to the field.
Alexander is in his second year in the league and is establishing himself as a one man wrecking crew on the field. His physical style of play frustrates opponents often causing them to be carless with the ball or make rushed decisions. Offensive specialists usually love the short stick matchup, but Alexander has held his own against many attackmen in the league.
Bernhardt is also in his second year and his versatility stands out. He is strong on the ball and uses his speed to his advantage. In addition to being solid on the defensive side, Bernhardt is also very active on the offensive end of the field. In 21 games played for the Machine, Bernhardt has 13 goals and 7 assists. Bernhardt is also the Machine’s all-time leader in game winning goals.
Rounding out the trio is Groot. The Machine picked up Groot from the Denver practice squad earlier this season after he had previously spent time with the Machine during the 2012 campaign. Since rejoining the Machine this season, Groot’s ability to wreak havoc on defense, in transition and on the wings has been invaluable.
Often times when the game is on the line, it’s the play and actions of the defensive midfield that provide the Machine with that needed burst of energy.
The Machine returns to Selby Stadium for Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, August 9 when the team takes on the Florida Launch at 7 p.m. Click
HERE for more information about Fan Appreciation Night.
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