Ohio Machine attacker Marcus Holman and his teammates worked their way down the Selby Stadium stands signing autographs to show the fans appreciation after Saturday’s 12-8 loss to Rochester in the semifinal of the Major League Lacrosse playoffs.
Clearly disappointed with the loss, Holman said he couldn’t help but think that two years prior, the Machine had won just two games and now, for the second year in a row, they were in the playoffs.
“It’s funny how your standards change – your goals change,” Holman said. “My first year, we were just trying to get a win. Now were pretty disappointed that we’re not going to be playing in Atlanta next weekend.”
But, still, the disappointment of that elusive first playoff victory rang true. Like last year, the Machine got off to a quick start, scoring three consecutive goals, including a two-pointer by Tom Schreiber after Rochester had scored first.
“It’s a shame because you never want to play your worst game of the season at the end,” Holman said.
They led 4-2 after the first quarter, but the Rattlers had already begun their run. They scored nine of 11 goals from the 3:40 point in the first through the 4:13 mark of the third period to take a 10-6 lead, highlighted by three goals by attacker Kevin Rice.
“We didn’t play to our full potential, but part of it was that they didn’t let us play to our full potential,” Machine coach Bear Davis said.
The Machine answered with Holman’s third goal and a goal by attacker Jimmy Bitter to cut the deficit to two with 1:52 remaining in the fourth.
“This team’s had fight all year,” Davis said. “I don’t think we ever felt like we were out of it … in any game. This is only the third game we’ve lost this year by more than one goal.”
Machine goalie Brian Phipps came up with a pair of stellar saves, one with Ohio a man down to keep it close, but that’s as close as it would get.
“Our job is to make one play at a time and one stop at a time,” Phipps said. “Unfortunately, we gave up too many goals, but in the fourth quarter, you gotta make stops in order for us to win. As a goalie, you like that pressure. My job is stop the ball and I like to have that much control in the game.”
The eight-goal output was just the second time this season that Ohio had been held under 10 goals. The first time was the season opening 14-8 loss at New York on April 12.
“(Rochester goalie) John Galloway was phenomenal for them all game,” Holman said. “Their defense did a great job. Candidly, we didn’t have offensive today.”
Rochester heads off to the MLL Championship to face New York next Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Northwest Kennesaw, Georgia. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network live at 7 p.m.
Michael Rich can be found on Twitter @mrichdelgazette. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.