Cleveland State (0-4) vs. Air Force (1-2)
Friday, Feb. 23 | 6:00 p.m. ET
Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium | Denver, Colo.
OFF AND RUNNING
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team continues a stretch of four straight games away from home this weekend with a pair of games against the two westernmost Division I lacrosse programs.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
After dropping its opening two games to top-five foes, Air Force won last weekend at Marist. The Falcons were selected preseason favorites in the Southern Conference and had six players on the preseason all-league team. Denver, a 2017 national semifinalist, will be playing its home opener this weekend after winning at Air Force and dropping a three-goal game at No. 1 Duke. The Pioneers are led by faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste, the only active college player named to the U.S. roster for the 2018 World Championships.
QUICK STRIKE VIKES
Cleveland State's fourth goal at Bellarmine came just nine seconds after a faceoff. It marked the fifth straight game in which CSU has scored within 15 seconds of a faceoff and the sixth straight in which it has scored within 25 seconds of a faceoff. Cleveland State has scored at least one goal within one minute of a faceoff in each of its 18 games thus far (13 times CSU has scored within 30 seconds).
Freshman Michael Wilson has made an impression in CSU's opening games. He scored two unassisted goals on two shots in his debut against Ohio State. He added an unassisted tally, his first assist and six ground balls vs. Mercer and scored two more last time out at Bellarmine. He has scored in all four games thus far and has three multi-point efforts. Wilson is not the first athlete in his family as his mother played softball for Army.
SPREAD THE WEALTH
Last time out at Bellarmine, Cleveland State's offense came from a variety of sources. Eight Vikings scored while 12 had at least one point. The eight different goal scorers tied CSU's high against a DI foe while the 12 players with a point were a new program record.
Freshman Derek Radke scored his first career goal last time out, which came on the heels of a breakout performance vs. Mercer. He posted four assists, including one on the game-tying goal with 12 seconds left. Radke's first career multi-point game made him the first Viking to post 4+ assists against a Division I opponent.
Cleveland State hung right with nationally ranked Ohio State in the opening half of its season opener before the Buckeyes gained some breathing room in the second half. At the half, OSU led just, 5-4. The Buckeyes had only a 15-14 advantage in shots, each team had five saves and CSU had made three fewer turnovers.
TOUGH TESTS FOR DEFENSE
Cleveland State's schedule might keep defensive coordinator Andy German up at night. After facing four of the 10 highest scoring offenses last year, CSU is scheduled to face seven teams in 2018 that were among the top 25 in scoring offense in 2017. According to Patrick McEwen's per-possession figures on Analytics Lacrosse, the Vikings faced the fifth-toughest set of offensive opponents in the 2017 season.
#1 x 2
When Cleveland State faced off at Penn State last season, it marked the second time in a one-month span that the Vikings played the top-ranked team in the USILA poll. The 16 most recent programs making their NCAA lacrosse debut in DI combined to play the No. 1 ranked team just a single time in their inaugural seasons.
THE MAN ON MAN UP
Man-up opportunities are often a great chance to score, but Jack Frickleton has been especially dangerous for CSU's man-up unit. He had five man-up tallies last season, tied for fourth among DI freshmen. He also had four assists during EMO chances in 2017. Frickleton has three man-up goals in the past two games.
HOLDING ON TO IT
Cleveland State had just 13 turnovers last time out compared to the 19 committed by Bellarmine. It marked the third straight game that the Vikings had fewer turnovers than their opponent.
FROM HERE AND EVERYWHERE
On six occasions last season, the 10 players in CSU's starting lineup went to high school in eight different states. The Vikings started players from eight states again in their 2018 opener and have started players from nine states in each of their past three games.
In each of its last two games, Cleveland State has led its opponent in shots and shots on goals. CSU outshot Mercer, 48-34, in its last home game. That was part of a larger trend that saw CSU have statistical advantages in GB's, faceoffs and CT's. The Vikings' 48 shots are their highest figure thus far against a DI opponent.