May 23, 2013

MLL Week 5: Minus Baum, Ohio Seeks First Win of 2013

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com

Colgate's Peter Baum, the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Ohio Machine, will not play in MLL this year, opting to join the LXM PRO Tour instead.
© Lee Weissman

Ohio enters Week 5 of play as the only remaining winless team in the league. The team that finished in last place in 2012 continues to struggle in 2013 as the only franchise that is averaging fewer than 10 goals per game.

Not all hope is lost for the Machine this season, not according to head coach Ted Garber.

"In this league everyone comes back to the pack," he said. "Things turn quickly in this league."

Garber noted how the winless Boston Cannons beat the undefeated Chesapeake Bayhawks in Week 4 as a prime example of how any team can win on any given night in Major League Lacrosse.

The last time the Ohio Machine won a game was July 14, 2012. That game was a Friday night contest against the Hamilton Nationals, whom the Machine plays Thursday.

"I'm hoping it's a good omen," Garber said. "They've changed their personnel. We've changed our personnel. But it does give you a mental edge."

The Nationals are playing well and winning some close games as of late. They have plenty of reason to be confident.

But Hamilton head coach Dave Huntley sees how this Ohio team can get its first win of the season against his squad.

"Their defense knocks down a lot of passes," Huntley said. "We're a team that likes to pass the ball. Getting their sticks up in the lane matches up with our strengths."

Part of Ohio's change in personnel will be the addition of several key rookies this weekend.

Ohio has activated second round draft picks Marcus Holman – a 2013 Tewaaraton Award Finalist – and Logan Schuss as well as fifth round pick Dominique Alexander. No. 1 overall draft Peter Baum will not play for the Machine this year, instead opting to join the LXM Pro Tour and sign with Adrenaline.

"From an offensive stand point we really want to have Logan and Marcus out there together," Garber said. "We have some flexibility."

Again, it's the flexibility Ohio features that Huntley is wary of. Huntley spoke highly of Steele Stanwick, Chazz Woodson and Joe Cummings but it's a long-pole that's catching his attention.

"[Kyle] Hartzell not only joins the rush but then he pretends to go back and rejoins the rush," he said. "He represents an offensive threat. You have to be thinking of him all the time."

Despite the positives that Garber and Huntley both see, Garber refuses to allow past results make the team complacent.

"They came back the next night," Garber said, referring to the Nationals victory the night after Ohio beat them last July.

Garber said the recent lack of success also won't bring the team too low, either.

"You've got to show up play the best you can and get some breaks. We go into every game thinking going to win," he said. "They're professional players. They know how to win. We thought the process would be quicker but it hasn't been. You deal with it and move forward."

Garber hopes that even keel attitude will keep the Machine going in the right direction, which would be a victory against the Nationals.

Baum Second Straight Top Pick to Not Play

For the second season in a row, the MLL No. 1 collegiate draft pick will not play in the year that he was drafted.

Last season, Cornell's Rob Pannell was injured during the collegiate season and received a medical waiver that allowed him to stay in school for an extra season, thus not joining the Lizards.

There's a bit more controversy surrounding Baum's decision. The Machine said Wednesday that Baum wouldn't play with the team this year, citing a meniscus injury. But about 12 hours later, LXM announced that Baum was joining its tour and would play in an event on June 8 in California.

Machine head coach Ted Garber and general manager John Algie both were quoted as saying Baum would play in MLL because of injury, but it appears Baum will play in two weeks.

"We didn't know about Peter until recently. I talked to Coach [Mike] Murphy at Colgate and he said [Baum] was still trying to get it under control," Garber said. "He was playing through some nagging pain. It's something he was trying to take care of."

Algie said in a press release that Baum told the team he was dealing with the injury.

"After telling us that he has been battling a meniscus injury, we don't expect Peter to join the Machine this year," he said.

Baum scored 47 points in 2013, compared to the 97 he had last season.

"That's the risk you take drafting guys," Garber said. "You don't know what's going to happen to him in the season."

Week 5 Preview

Hamilton Nationals (3-0) at Ohio Machine (0-3), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Broadcast: CBS Sports Network

When the Nationals and Machine collide, old faces from both teams will be playing their former employer for the first time.

The two teams made a relatively big trade at the end of March, exchanging some rather large players.

Ohio sent midfielder Roy Lang along with a first round 2015 MLL Collegiate Draft pick to Hamilton for goalie Scott Rodgers, defender Chad Wiedamaier and a 2014 MLL Collegiate Draft second round pick.

The Machine was going to start Rodgers in goal last week but his equipment was lost by the airline he traveled on. Garber said he will start against his former team.

"He's looking forward to it," Garber said. "I think Scotty is familiar with them and looking forward to playing against his old team."

Meanwhile, Huntley and the undefeated Nationals are more than thrilled with what Lang has brought to the team this season.

"That was a no-brainer," Huntley said, referring to what he thought when he heard Lang was available. "He's a guy that defends well and is great on loose balls. He's got all the tools."

It will be one to watch to see which players get the best of their former teammates.


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