Machine name 2015 roster; prepare for New York

The Ohio Machine and head coach Bear Davis pared down their season opening roster from the preseason camp of 40 to the league-allowed 25 on Monday as they prepare for their season-opener against the New York Lizards on Sunday, April 12.

“Our roster is extremely deep and balanced heading into the 2015 season,” head coach Bear Davis said in a press release. “We added guys at a number of positions that can fill immediate roles and complement the returning players on the roster. Our staff is expecting big things from this roster when it hits the field to start the season.”

Returning to this year’s roster are Major League Lacrosse’s leading scorer and one of three team captains Marcus Holman, who led with 37 goals, and Peter Baum who notched the third highest MLL total with 35. Also returning is midfielder Kyle Harrison, who is coming off one of his best seasons in MLL since 2008 and was also named as another of the team’s captains.

“He’s been around not only the lacrosse side of it, but also the business side and he brings a whole different perspective to the table, and also professionalism,” said Davis in a conference call on Wednesday. “He does a great job of leading by example for our guys. I think he’s great not only for the Ohio Machine, but great for the league. He understands the commitment level that it takes to be successful and he is incredibly unselfish.”

The offseason was also fruitful for the Machine as they added nine new players to the roster including four-year veteran Steven Boyle and four-year veteran and three-time MLL All-Star Brian Karalunas.

“I think BK is quietly intense and takes the game of lacrosse very personal. He is another guy that understands the business side from being with Maverik (a company who sells lacrosse-specific products),” said Davis on the conference call. “He cares and is very passionate about seeing the game grow. He is a two-player swing in my mind. As I watch film from last year, I don’t think people realize how big of a part he played on the wing for faceoffs for New York. He was one of the sole purposes why you wouldn’t have even known Steele (Stanwick) was really in the game because it was BK covering him. He is a great positional defenseman and is really smart in many aspects of the game.”

The Machine’s head coach also feels that with every good offense a good defense is needed to counter-balance towards another championship run and guys like Karalunas, fifth-year veteran Steve Waldeck and second-year player Michael Noone can bring more of a balanced attack.

“We realize that we might have a slight unbalance between LSM’s (long-stick midfielders) and close D guys,” said Davis. “But we have several guys who have experience in both spots, such as Steve and Brian. We also brought some guys in like Michael who might be the most pure base defenseman that we have. He is an incredible communicator and we are excited about him and his ability to shut some guys down, so we will see where he fits in as well. When you only dress 19 guys, I don’t think it’s terrible to have guys that have the ability to play close and pole.”

As the team gets ready for the Lizards this Sunday, coach Davis hopes that the new additions are going to add a spark that will only make them an even better team than the one that made the playoffs last year.

“We feel that last year, we had some missing pieces to the puzzle, whether guys were in the NLL (National Lacrosse League) or still in college and all of them having a hand in our team later in the year. So having those key guys in training camp knowing the team chemistry… showed some great veteran presence and I felt like our training camp was elevated in many ways.”

Sunday’s opener will be no cake walk and Davis knows it. The Machine are 0-6 all-time versus the Lizards and he’s hoping the team’s fortunes can change.

“There’s no doubt that the history of this matchup hasn’t gone our way,” said Davis in the conference call. “But when a club starts off 2-12 (in each of the team’s first two seasons) there aren’t a lot of teams that you have a great history with. I feel like we create our own history every time we step out onto the field and let it define who we are, which is how we are approaching this game. I like the 2015 Machine team and we completely understand that we have a tall task ahead of us.”

The season opener will be airing live at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 12 on ESPN 3.

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