On a two game skid and only averaging 11 goals per game, the Ohio Machine welcomed league MVP Tom Schreiber back with open arms. Coming off of his MVP season in which he led the league in assists (38) and ranked third in total points (61), Schreiber was obviously a key addition to the Machine’s offense.
During his rookie campaign in the NLL, Schreiber accumulated 94 points (33 goals and 61 assists). He didn’t miss a beat trading in his rib guards and chest protector for cleats and his Warrior Evo helmet.
The first thing you’ll notice when watching Schreiber and the Ohio Machine offense is how much attention Schreiber attracts. Unlike the first four games of the season, where Peter Baum was drawing the attention of the opposing LSM, he now is being guarded by one of the two short-stick defensive midfielders as teams are forced to put the LSM on Schreiber. Through the first seven games of the season, Baum is ranked fifth in the league with 8 unassisted goals. As the season progresses and Baum continues to see more and more short-stick defensive midfielders, we will most likely see his goals off the dodge increase.
In both of the following videos, you’ll see Baum initiate offense from up top against a short-stick defensive midfielder. When no slide comes, Baum does what he does best and buries it in the back of the net.
Jake Bernhardt is right behind Baum with 7 unassisted goals (ninth in MLL). While he benefited from having a short-stick defensive midfielder most of this season, Bernhardt should see less and less slides as defenses are too worried about Marcus Holman (15-for-32 catch-and-shoot), Mark Cockerton (14-for-43 catch-and-shoot), Baum and now, Schreiber. After putting up 11 points in the first four games of the season, Bernhardt has accumulated 11 more points in the three games since Schreiber’s return.
Similar to when Peter Baum dodged, Bernhardt beats his man but the defense is reluctant to slide.
Teams are also reluctant to switch picks when Schreiber is the ball handler in the pick-and-roll. With great picks from Bernhardt, Schreiber now has his hands free to shoot or pass. Combine that with bad communication from the defense and you end up with two high percentage shots.
When defenses find themselves in the unfortunate situation where a short-stick defensive midfielder is matched up with Schreiber, he will tear the defense apart with his ability to pass. His quick release and pinpoint accuracy leads to his teammates filling up score sheet. Last year he and Marcus Holman connected for 14 goals on 31 shots. Those 14 goals were the most out of any passer-shooter combination in the league. Not too far behind them, Schreiber and Cockerton connected for 7 goals, which was good for 12th in the league. This year, Holman and Cockerton are both in the top-4 for catch-and-shoot goals. With the return of Schreiber, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these numbers continue to rise.
In the following clip, the Bayhawks are forced to switch and Schreiber shows patience to pull the SSDM out and dodge to draw the slide. The feed may not have been perfect, but Schreiber draws so much attention that Cockerton is wide open for the finish.
In the next clip, Schreiber slips a pick for Bernhardt but still gets the switch. As he dodges the short-stick, Florida is forced to start hedging off the crease which leaves Schuss wide open for a goal.
Through the first four games of the season, Ohio was clicking on man up. They were converting on 30% of extra man opportunities. However, since the addition of Schreiber to this unit, they have converted on six of their 10 opportunities. Schreiber’s vision and pinpoint passing ability is critical in the extra-man set. Head coach Bear Davis has him playing the top middle spot in their 3-3 set where Schreiber is surrounded with shooters, which fully utilizes Schreiber’s dynamic feeding ability.
In the 3-3 set, Holman finds his way from an open set to his spot on the crease. As the defense rotates and shares the crease responsibility, Holman does a great job of moving to the ball, Schreiber finds him, and Holman finishes it.
In the second half of the following clip, Marcus Holman starts behind at X and cuts to fill the crease. This cut will draw the low defenders higher, which opens up a skip lane to the low man. In this clip it’s Baum who benefits from a great cut by Holman and a pinpoint pass from Schreiber
In their game against Chesapeake, Quint Kessinich debated whether the Machine have the most dominant midfield in the MLL. Since the addition of Schreiber, the Machine have scored 3.7 more points per 45 possessions. Defenses beware. Tom Schreiber and the Ohio Machine are back.