The Ohio Machine has the best defense nobody talks about. They are known as The Faceless Men — a silent group of assassins from non-ACC, non-B1G programs. They’ve adopted goalie Scott Rodgers’ blue-collar, underdog mentality. Playing a college-style slide package, the Machine have finished top-3 in defensive rating and assist-to-turnover ratio allowed in each of the past two seasons.

Steven Waldeck (Stony Brook), Jackson Place (Bucknell), Matt McMahon (Penn) and Michael Noone (Lehigh) have the collective athleticism and length to disrupt offensive sets. Constant pressure from those defenders and LSM Brian Karalunas (Villanova) makes it tough for you to catch the ball in the spots you like to dodge from.

When you finally get there, the Machine defense is comfortable switching nearly any matchup. Short-stick Dominique Alexander (Ohio State) can overpower any midfielder yet can also go step-for-step with quicker players like Joey Sankey.

The switchability that Alexander provides is a luxury. It’s a big reason why the Machine is so stingy against pick-and-rolls. Only the Florida Launch allowed fewer goals in pick-and-rolls per game (1.29) than the Machine (1.64) last summer.

With Kyle Harrison rehabbing an ankle injury for the first half of the season and MVP Tom Schreiber out indefinitely due to his NLL commitments, The Faceless Men will be more important to the Machine’s success than ever before.