Vikings Seek to Continue Strong Play on Quick Turnaround

Vikings Seek to Continue Strong Play on Quick Turnaround

Cleveland State (3-4) at Lafayette (4-3)
Tuesday, March 12 | Fisher Stadium
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The Cleveland State University lacrosse team continues a six-game road trip with a midweek matchup. CSU is seeking what would be a third straight win against a much improved Lafayette squad.

Lafayette has already eclipsed its win total from last season under first-year head coach Patrick Myers. The Leopards have four wins, two against foes they lost to last year, with all three of their losses coming to nationally ranked opponents. Lafayette is one of just seven DI teams to average fewer than 15 turnovers per game. Five Leopards have at least a dozen points, a group led by senior Conor Walters with 20. Andrew Robbins leads the team with 15 goals.

Cleveland State used a strong defensive effort and led for the final 50 minutes in taking down Marquette, 7-5, last weekend. As a result, CSU won back-to-back games against Division I foes for the first time ever. Both of those wins also came on the road. The Vikings' win over the Golden Eagles was also their first over a Big East opponent.

Danny Tesler has won more than 70% of his faceoffs in four of the past five games. He won 18-of-25 at Denver, 17-of-23 at Mercer and 11-of-15 at Marquette in the past three games. His 18 wins were the most ever by a Viking against a DI opponent. He has won more than half of his faceoffs in six of seven games this season. He ranks among the top 10 in DI in faceoff winning percentage.

Tristan Hanna has notched hat tricks in four of the past five games. He already became the first Viking to have three consecutive hat tricks. He has 14 goals and three assists in this stretch after having a single point in the first two games. Hanna's 14 goals have come on just 22 shots and have been assisted by seven players.

Through seven games this season, CSU has often forced its opponents into failed clears. The Vikings' foes are just 117-for-159 on clears this season with the 73.6% mark sitting well below the DI median of 81.9%. No Viking opponent has cleared above 80% since the season opener as CSU's foes have cleared at just 71.4% over the past six games.

Cleveland State outscored Lafayette 5-0 in the fourth quarter to claim a 12-6 win at home. The Vikings forced the Leopards into eight fourth-quarter turnovers. Nate Menendez had a hat trick while Stephen Russo made 11 saves. Tristan Hanna scored the first two goals of his career in the first meeting between the programs.

Michael Wilson has posted a point in each of the 20 games he's started at CSU, scoring in 14 of them. He led the team in goals (21), assists (14) and points (35) last season. Wilson shot 45.7% in 2018, the second-best mark by any DI freshman and among the top 20 overall. He leads the team with 22 points this season and is the only Viking with points in each game. Wilson is among the top 25 in DI in assists per game.

In its Feb. 16 win over Bellarmine, 13 of the 17 Cleveland State goals were assisted. The 13 assists represented a new standard for the program as it was only the second time that CSU had more than eight assists against a Division I opponent. In its first two games, CSU assisted 35.3% of its goals. In the last five games, the Vikings have assisted 65.4% of their goals.

Cleveland State is in the midst of a stretch of going over a month without playing a home game. The Vikings will play six consecutive games away from home in this stretch, two of which will come against nationally ranked foes. CSU is one of just two DI teams to play six straight games away from home in 2019.

Sophomore Tristan Hanna has scored in five straight games while classmate Michael Wilson has assists in the last seven. Hanna has tied the longest such CSU streak while Wilson's seven-game run is the longest by a Viking. Hanna has scored from Wilson in three of the five games.

Cleveland State held Marquette to just five goals last time out, the fewest ever allowed by the Vikings to a Division I foe. The total also represents a season low for Marquette, who has scored 12+ goals in three of its other four games. CSU held MU scoreless for a 36:08 stretch, the longest such in-game shutout streak by the Vikings.

Freshman Nick Polydoras picked a good time to open his collegiate scoring account. Polydoras netted his first two goals in last weekend's win over Marquette, a game the Vikings won by a margin of two. Both of his tallies came in the second half.

Cleveland State has reeled off a run of 5+ goals in four of its past six games. CSU's 6-0 run against Michigan represented the most consecutive goals scored by the Vikings against a nationally ranked opponent. CSU posted seven straight goals in its win over Bellarmine and five straight in wins over Mercer and Marquette.

Michael Wilson has 14 points in the past three games, including six points at Mercer March 2, the most by a Viking in 2019. He tied his career high of five goals against the Bears while reaching a half dozen points for the third time in the past calendar year. In doing so, he became the first Viking to surpass 50 career points.