By Mary Stankiewicz | 4/1/14 6:30 PM
With the Ohio Machine’s 2014 season quickly approaching, TheOhioMachine.com takes a look at the defensive lineup heading into training camp. This year’s defensive core features both experienced veterans and young guns pushing for increased playing time. Chad Wiedmaier, Greg Bice, and Max Schmidt all return to the Machine in 2014 and new additions to the roster include former MLL All-Star Brian Farrell.
In 2013, Chad Wiedmaier played in all but one regular season game with the Machine and finished fourth on the team with 30 groundballs. Despite 2014 being just his second with the team, Wiedmaier has become a cornerstone of the team’s defense. Prior to joining the Machine last season, Wiedmaier spent a season with the Hamilton Nationals where he played in nine games and collected 18 groundballs.
“Chad is becoming a leader of this defense,” said Machine Head Coach Bear Davis. “He has great potential to be one of the best shut down defenders in the league.”
Over the offseason, the Machine traded for defenseman Brian Farrell. An All-Star in 2012, Farrell averaged nearly 2.5 groundballs per game while playing shutdown defense over the first three years of his professional career. Entering his first year with the Machine, the coaching staff has high aspirations for the team’s newest defender.
“Farrell’s a big, strong guy,” Davis said. “He’s a versatile defender who will have a significant role whether at pole or close defense. He’s a threat at either.”
Veteran Greg Bice is returning for his third year with the Machine and his 11th season in MLL. In 2013, Bice played in six games, totaling one assist and four groundballs. But Bice brings much more to the Machine than what shows up in the box score. His years of experience and leadership are a necessary commodity for the team’s defensive core.
“Bice will hold down the fort for the squad again this year,” Davis said. “He is a quarterback on the field; he knows the game and has great ability to direct traffic.”
Max Schmidt continues his MLL career with the Machine for the third season. Last year, he played in 13 games, had one assist and finished third on the team with 33 groundballs. In 2012, Schmidt collected 33 groundballs in 12 games played.
“Schmidt had a mixed role for us last year and handled it very well,” Davis said. “We expect good things from him this year now that he has grown as a player.”
In addition to the returning core of defenseman, the Machine added a number of players who will challenge for playing time. Matt Cafarelli, Audi Glass, Chris Lightner, Ryan Nizolek, Matt Silvia, Cody Solaja and Dana Wilber all enter training camp looking for push for playing time in 2014.