OFF AND RUNNING
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team returns home for the first time in over a month to host top-ranked Penn State. CSU is hosting a No. 1 team for the first time in program history.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Penn State enters as the top-ranked team in multiple polls. The Nittany Lions own the top scoring offense, averaging over two goals more than the next closest team. Penn State also tops DI in shooting percentage and man-up offense and has the nation's leaders in both goals per game (Mac O'Keefe) and assists per game (Grant Ament). Penn State also boasts preseason All-Americans at the faceoff 'X' (Gerard Arceri) and in the cage (Colby Kneese).
#1 x 3
In hosting Penn State this weekend, Cleveland State will be playing the top-ranked team for the third time in program history, albeit the first time they've hosted the No. 1 team. The Vikings faced Denver and Penn State during the 2017 season when those squads were No. 1. It will be the 14th time ever that CSU has faced a nationally ranked squad midway through its third season.
FANTASTIC ON FACEOFFS
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, 11-of-15 at Marquette and 19-of-23 at Lafayette in CSU's recent road trip. His 19 wins at Lafayette were the most ever by a Viking. He has won more than half of his faceoffs in seven of nine games in 2019 and ranks among the top 10 in DI in winning percentage.
FIRST TO SIXTY
Michael Wilson has 22 points in the past five games, including a school record eight March 12 at Lafayette. He posted a CSU record six assists against the Leopards while reaching a half dozen points for the fourth time in the past calendar year. In doing so, he became the first Viking to surpass 60 career points.
(NOT) CLEAR SAILING
Through nine games this season, CSU has often forced its opponents into failed clears. The Vikings' foes are just 154-for-208 on clears this season with the 74.0% mark sitting well below the DI median of 82.6%. No Viking opponent has cleared above 82.6% since the season opener as CSU's foes have cleared at just 72.5% over the past eight games.
LAST WE MET
Penn State had just a 6-4 lead at intermission but used a dominant second half to pull away from Cleveland State and claim a 16-5 win. The Nittany Lions are 2-0 against the Vikings with both contests taking place in Pennsylvania. Nick Wendel has scored in both prior meetings between the teams.
CAN YOU ASSIST ME?
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 seven games, the Vikings have assisted 69.0% of their goals.
FROM HERE AND EVERYWHERE
In their last game, the Vikings started players from eight U.S. states and a Canadian province, the fourth such occurrence this season for CSU. The Vikings have started players from seven different states and Canada in four games and nine states and Canada in one game.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Noah Gleeson picked a good time to produce his first multi-goal game in nearly two years. Entering the Lafayette game with three shots on the season, Gleeson found the net twice, including posting a man-down tally to help the comeback. He followed that up with two more points last time out vs. North Carolina.
Entering last weekend's game, North Carolina's opponents were clearing at just 69.3% on the season. However, Cleveland State was successful on 88.9% of its clear attempts, going 16-for-18 in the contest.
Cleveland State held Marquette to just five goals March 9, 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 five of its other six games. CSU held MU scoreless for a 36:08 stretch, the longest such in-game shutout streak by the Vikings.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH WENDEL
Junior Nick Wendel was one of CSU's most consistent offensive performers over the first two seasons. He has points in 25 of his last 29 games entering this week and has scored in 13 of his last 19 outings. Wendel is riding a five-game point streak entering the weekend.
After not having a point in the first six games, freshman Nick Polydoras has broken out for five goals over the past three games. He notched a hat trick last time out vs. North Carolina and scored two second-half goals at Marquette in a game the Vikings won by two.
After scoring in two of his first 13 games, Jason Sullivan has scored in six of the past seven in which he's played. He posted a career-high five points Feb. 16, tying his career-high of three assists. He has multiple points in five of the past seven games he's played.