After moving into a playoff spot with a thrilling 13-12 overtime win against the Charlotte Hounds last week, the Ohio Machine is set to take on the top-ranked Denver Outlaws in season-defining matchup.
The Machine (5-6) and the Outlaws (8-3) will square off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 at Selby Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.
Ohio is currently tied for fourth in Major League Lacrosse with the Boston, but doesn’t hold the tie breaker over the Cannons.
Regardless of the team’s league standing, Head Coach Bear Davis said it’s important to keep focused on what you can control.
“It’s about doing, and the playoff picture will take care of itself if we just take care of our own business,” Davis said. “Just don’t be distracted by all the what ifs and just do it.”
The Machine is 0-5 against the Outlaws all time, but will be hoping to avenge a close, 14-12 loss in Denver May 4. The Outlaws finished the game with a 7-3 run in the fourth quarter, but since then the Machine has only been outscored in the final period three times.
Davis said the key to reversing that result will be to make sure the Machine can stop runs and answer back to any moments of success form the Outlaws.
“Answer negatives with positives,” he said. “The more we can focus on that and focus on the next play (the better).”
Overall Ohio is tops in Major League Lacrosse with 147 goals, sparked by midfielder Peter Baum who has a club-record 29 goals in his first MLL season. That number puts Baum in a tie for first in the league with Denver’s Eric Law.
In week 11 it wasn’t Baum who stole the headlines, but instead it was his line-mate Tom Schreiber and rookie attackman Derek Maltz.
Davis said Maltz, who has the largest frame of any Machine attackman, can add an extra dimension to the offense going forward as a body on the crease. As for Schreiber, Davis commended him for stepping up late despite having a slow night shooting the ball. He said Schreiber demanded the ball on the final play, and it paid off with a Machine victory.
“When you have a guy that hasn’t really found his groove all game shooting and in overtime he demands the ball, I think that’s pretty special,” Davis said.
Regardless of who lines up on the other side of the field, the Machine will be fighting to extend its winning streak to three games, and continue a furious playoff push. After consecutive 2-12 seasons to start its time in Delaware, Ohio, Davis said the Machine is ready to show the world what his team is mad out of.
“I think it’s really exciting and Ohio fans and the league should be excited,” he said. “We want to be the model, not just the expansion team.”
After taking on the Outlaws, the Machine is set to face off with the other No. 1 team in the league when it takes on the Rochester Rattlers August 2 in Rochester, N.Y. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Machine ends its regular season August 9 at Selby Stadium against the Florida Launch at 7 p.m. on Fan Appreciation Night. Both games will be broadcast on the MLL YouTube Network.