One of the defining features of the Ohio Machine’s inaugural season was the team’s highly successful 2012 rookie class. In the team’s last nine games of the season, rookies combined for 29 goals and 23 assists, including helping lead the team over the Hamilton Nationals on July 13th for its second win of the season.
The Machine began to build its impressive rookie class on January 13, 2012, when it selected seven players in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft.
The team’s first pick of the draft was University of Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick (2nd Overall). The 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner made his MLL debut on June 16th against the Long Island Lizards. In his debut, Stanwick lived up to the lofty expectations by scoring two goals and recording one assist.
One of Stanwick’s defining moments of the 2012 season came against the Hamilton Nationals on July 13th when his first goal of the game put the Machine up 13-11 in the fourth quarter and his second goal then helped secure the team’s win, second of the season. “We had been very close in our games all season and to finally get a win up there was great,” said Stanwick. “It’s really hard winning in the pros and to finally get the win in Hamilton was an awesome feeling.”
Machine Head Coach Ted Garber knew he was getting something special when he drafted Stanwick with the team’s first overall draft pick. “Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said that we’d love this guy and that he is a great person who has his priorities in the right order,” said Garber. “And as the season progressed so did Steele, he got better and better as he got used to the pro game.”
Stanwick finished his stellar rookie campaign with 28 points in only nine games and led all rookies in the MLL in assists with 17.
After selecting Stanwick, the team drafted midfielders Robert Rotanz (8th Overall - Duke), Anthony Biscardi (21st Overall - Massachusetts) and Bobby Eilers (34th Overall - Syracuse) and attackman Billy Eisenreich (21st Overall - Bucknell). The four rookies played in a total of 11 games for the Machine.
The team continued to bolster its already stout defense through the draft when it selected Dublin Jerome product and Johns Hopkins midfielder Marshall Burkhart (50th Overall). The underrated Burkhart played in nine games and was a valuable cog in the team’s defense. “Marshall is a hardnosed guy who we knew could be a really good player in this league,” said Garber.
“Marshall was one of the big surprises of our collegiate draft class to our outsiders,” said Machine President and GM John Algie. “But we knew we were getting a smart player that was ‘Ohio tough’ and he stepped in immediately as a big time contributor for us on the field.”
The Machine’s inaugural season draft also featured three players who did not see any action during the 2012 season, attackmen Alex Demopoulos and Austin Bright and midfielder Chris Langton.
The Ohio Machine draft class had a successful first year but Garber believes next year could be even better for the team’s rookies. “Once they get to the second year, they know the logistics of travel and what to expect in the league,” said Garber.
Combined with mid-season acquisitions Kiel Matisz (8G 1A) and Joe Cummings (9G 2A) and offseason acquisition from Rochester Roy Lang (14G 3A), the Machine will enter the 2013 season with eight members of the 2012 MLL rookie class on its roster and the future couldn't be brighter.
“I’m excited to get a full year under my belt,” said Stanwick. “We have an incredible group of guys who work hard and when you have that, impressive things will happen.”