2/21/13 11:57 AM
Leading up to the Ohio Machine’s 2013 training camp, the Machine will be breaking down the individual positions of the team, continuing with the midfielders. Midfielders are some of the most active players on the field playing offensively and defensively. One of their main responsibilities is to transition the ball from defense to offense and to give the offense as many scoring opportunities possible. Excellent passing skills, great shot selection and steady ball control are all requirements in order to have a successful midfield line.
Last year’s top midfielders were a mixture of young blood and MLL veterans between Connor Martin, Matt Casey, Joe Cummings and Kiel Matisz. Those four excelled on the offensive midfield side where they totaled 31% of the Machine’s goals for 2012, as well as on the defensive side with a total of 29 groundballs.
Matt Casey, one of only four players to play in all 14 Machine games in 2012, proved he was a versatile player on offense and defense midfield throughout the season. Casey collected 18 groundballs and totaled 13 points from 10 goals, two assists and one 2-point goal.
University of Maryland attackman and alumJoe Cummings transitioned to the midfield with the Machine in a very short period. Cummings only played in four games during 2012 but accumulated 11 points from nine goals and two assists to tie for third at the midfield for goals.
As one of the key midfielders from last season,Connor Martin totaled 32 points for the team during his first time ever playing midfield. Martin led the Machine midfielders with 23 goals, two 2-point goals and seven assists. He also assisted on defense collecting nine groundballs.
Joining the Machine half way through the 2012 season, Kiel Matisz aided the Machine by scooping up two groundballs, scoring eight goals and having one assist for nine points. Before joining the Machine, Matisz played in three games for the Hamilton Nationals where he scored one goal.
Along with Martin, Casey, Cummings and Matisz, the Machine will have a fierce battle during training camp between the talented midfielders. Others on the roster vying for time at midfield are returning Machine players Anthony Biscardi, Marshall Burkhart, Bobby Eilers, Brett Garber, Will Harrington, Brady Williams, Matt Witko and Chazz Woodson, as well as new faces Jeff Ledwick, Roy Lang, Andrew Stimmel and Julian Watts.
Anthony Biscardi was the Machine’s second round draft pick and 16th Overall in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft after attending the University of Massachusetts. Biscardi helped lead University of Massachusetts to an undefeated regular season and finished the year ranked fourth on the team in goals with 21 and total points(28).
Another 2012 Collegiate draftee,Marshall Burkhart, joins the Machine for his first full MLL season after a successful rookie season at midfield. Burkhart played in eight games for the Machine where he tallied two assists and nine groundballs and became an anchor as a defensive midfielder. He joined the Machine after a successful college tenure with Johns Hopkins, playing in 51 games and leading the team as co-captain.
The Machine’s 2012 fifth round Collegiate Draft pick Bobby Eilers played in five games for the Machine after finishing his college career with Syracuse. He played both defensive and offensive midfield for Syracuse, as well as led his team as captain. Eilers ended his senior season scoring a career high of 22 goals and had a career high eight assists.
Brett Garber, who had a season-ending injury on July 4 against Denver, scored five goals and four assists for a total of 10 points during his 2012 season for the Machine. Garber enters into his fifth season in MLL.
Will Harrington, who was drafted by the Machine in 2012,previously played for Towson University. Harrington was named First Team All-CAA and to the CAA All-Tournament Team, as well asnotched three hat tricks during his senior. In 2009, he was named First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association and led the team with 23 goals and ranked third with 26 points. Harrington also led CAA with eight extra-man goals.
Jeff Ledwickwas the Machine’s first round 2013 MLL Supplemental Draft pick from Colgate University and was team captain his senior year. In 2012, Ledwick started in all 18 games as a midfielder and finished the season third on his team with 47 points from 32 goals and 15 assists. Ledwick also led the team and the Patriot League with nine man-up goals, while collecting 14 groundballs and forcing two turnovers.
One of the newest faces to the Machine, Roy Lang, was originally drafted by Rochester as the 11th Overall pick in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft. In his rookie season, he scored 17 points from 14 goals and three assists, as well as collected 26 groundballs. The Machine traded for Lang in September 2012.
During his career with the Buckeyes, Andrew Stimmel collected 58 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers, scored four goals and had three assists to total seven points in 46 games. In addition to being captain his senior year, Stimmel was a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All Big-Ten choice.
Most recently added Machine player Julian Watts played at Hofstra from 2004 to 2007 in 60 games, where he picked up 70 ground balls and was named to the CAA All-Tournament Team, as well as team captain in 2007. Watts played for the Lizards from 2007 to 2011 in 20 games, scoring three goals and tallying 20 ground balls.
Brady Williams was drafted by the Machine during the 2012 MLL Supplemental Draft. Although Williams did not see any playing time during the Machine’s inaugural season, this Columbus native made a statement at Brown University where he played from 2006-2009. During his senior season, Williams was the fifth-leading scorer with 31 points and most recently made Brown’s 2000-09 All Decade Team along with fellow teammate Chazz Woodson.
Tufts University alumni Matt Witko came to the Machine through the 2012 Supplemental Draft as a third round pick. Witko played in five games with the Machine and scored two goals for two points. Before the Machine, Witko ended his college career as a 2010 National Champion and 2011 National Championship runner-up, as well as being named to USILA First Team All-American, NEILA First Team All-New England and First Team All-NESCAC. He also tallied 44 points from 31 goals and 13 assists in his 2011 senior season.
Chazz Woodson, who was one of the top attackmen for the Machine last year,could also see some playing time at midfield this year. He had a career-best season during the Machine’s inaugural year where he led the team in points (38) with a career best of 24 goals and points, as well as tied his career best in assists (14) and played in his second All-Star game.
The midfield will be the position where the fiercest battles will be with so much depth in talent going into training camp. With camp quickly approaching, players and coaching staff have a lot of preparing to do to get ready for all of these talented players vying for the coveted midfield line.
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2013 Ohio Machine Position Battles: