Fighting for its first-ever playoff appearance, the Ohio Machine has earned control of its own destiny with a four-game win streak in the season’s final weeks.
The streak kicked off on the Fourth of July when the Machine knocked off the defending back-to-back Major League Lacrosse Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks for the second time in 2014. Ohio followed up with consecutive overtime wins against the Charlotte Hounds and Denver Outlaws before a come-from-behind victory against the Rochester Rattlers Aug. 2.
Before the streak, the Machine was 3-6 and tied for last in the league. Today, Ohio is above .500 and alone in fourth place, which also happens to be the final playoff spot. With just one game remaining on the regular-season schedule, it’s win and in for the Machine.
The first three wins of the streak happened at home at Selby Stadium, but the win against Rochester, who was alone on the top of the league standings before the game, proved Ohio can get it done on the road as well. The Machine handed the Rattlers their first home loss of the season.
The toppling of the Rattlers meant the Machine had tallied a season sweep of both the best team of the past two seasons in Chesapeake, and the current league leader in Rochester. Within the win streak, the Machine also toppled the Outlaws, who are now tied with the Rattlers for the No. 1 slot.
While the team’s defense has stood strong when it matters most, the charge has been led largely by the best offense in MLL. Not only does the Machine have a league-high 186 goals this season, which is seven better than the next team, but the Ohio roster boasts two of the three players tied for the individual league lead in goals.
Midfielder Peter Baum and attackman Marcus Holman have each tallied 33 goals, tied with Denver’s Eric Law for tops in the league. In all, four different Machine players have scored 26 or more goals this season, while attackman Steele Stanwick has 10 goals to go with 23 assists.
Holman played in just three of the four straight wins, and still managed to tally 14 goals in the process. He sparked Ohio’s most recent win with a club-record six goals, and tied the club record with eight points in the game.
The four-game winning streak itself is a club best, but the Machine has set a plethora of other Ohio records in the process.
The 23 goals against Denver, including midfielder Kyle Harrison’s overtime winner, beat the previous club mark by five. In that game alone, the Machine set records for face-off wins (31) and attempts (46) while Harrison set a record as he put all 11 of his shots on target. Face-off man Bobby Dattilo set the Machine record with 12 groundballs in that game as well, while Holman and attackman Logan Schuss each tied the then-record with five goals, since broken by Holman.
The Machine’s overtime win against the Hounds July 19 was its first victory in the extra period, but the following week made it two nail-biters in a row with two wins for Ohio.
Now with just one game on the schedule, all the Machine can do is keep on grinding for one more win.
The Machine returns to Selby Stadium for Fan Appreciation Night when the team takes on the Florida Launch this evening at 7 p.m.