OFF AND RUNNING
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team hosts the second of a four-game homestand with its second midweek matchup of the season. The program will also Military Appreciation Night Tuesday.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
The defending MAAC champions are in the midst of a fine run of form, winning three of their past four, to push their record above .500. Canisius has won three straight outside of Buffalo, including a 12-2 win at Monmouth last weekend. Brad Nordstrom ranks among the top 10 in DI in saves/game and sports a .568 save percentage. Canisius ranks eighth nationally in shooting percentage (.326), with Mathi Boissonneault topping the team with his .526 mark.
COMPETING AGAINST THE BEST
While it dropped a hard-fought, 15-11 contest to No. 1 Penn State last time out, Cleveland State forced the Nittany Lions into below average performances across the board. Penn State had fewer goals, assists, ground balls, caused turnovers and saves than its pregame averages. PSU also was below its season averages for clearing percentage, faceoff percentage and shooting percentage.
HAMILTON TAKES CENTER STAGE
Freshman Andrew Hamilton won 13 of 22 faceoffs against preseason All-American Gerard Arceri last time out. He joined TD Ierlan as the only two players to win more than 50% of their faceoffs against Arceri this season. Hamilton also forced Arceri into four faceoff violations in the second half despite it being the first significant action he's had in a competitive game as a collegian.
FIRST TO SIXTY
Michael Wilson has 25 points in the past six 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 10 games this season, CSU has often forced its opponents into failed clears. The Vikings' foes are just 171-for-232 on clears this season with the 73.7% mark sitting well below the DI median of 83.0%. No Viking opponent has cleared above 83.0% since the season opener as CSU's foes have cleared at just 72.3% over the past nine games.
LAST WE MET
Cleveland State trailed for fewer than five minutes, but Canisius scored twice in the final two minutes to claim a 12-11 win in New York. Michael Wilson had two goals and two assists, Stephen Russo made 14 saves while Jake Higgins had his first multi-goal outing. Jack Frickleton has multiple points in both of CSU's prior games against Canisius.
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 eight games, the Vikings have assisted 70.7% of their goals.
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 in 2019, he found the net twice, including posting a man-down tally to help the comeback. Gleeson has five points in the last three games, more than he had in the previous 20 outings.
STEPHEN STOPPING SHOTS
In eight of the final 10 games last season, Stephen Russo contributed a double-digit save total. He also stopped at least half of the shots he faced in six of those outings. Russo finished sixth among DI freshman in save percentage (.515) in 2018. He has stopped at least half the shots he's faced in six of his eight games in 2019, posting 19 total saves in the last two games.
Sophomore Michael Wilson had an assist in the first eight games this season, the longest such streak by a Viking. Classmate Jason Sullivan is riding a five-game goal streak, tied for the longest in CSU history. Tristan Hanna also had a five-game goal streak earlier in 2019.
Cleveland State held Marquette to just five goals March 9, the fewest ever allowed by the Vikings to a DI foe. The total also represents a season low for Marquette, who has scored 11+ goals in six of its other eight games. CSU held MU scoreless for a 36:08 stretch, the longest in-game shutout streak by CSU.
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 26 of his last 30 games entering this week and has scored in 14 of his last 20 outings. Wendel is riding a six-game point streak after netting a hat trick last time out, his first hat trick since 2017.
After not having a goal in the first six games, freshman Nick Polydoras has scored in three of the past four. He notched a hat trick vs. UNC and scored two second-half goals at Marquette in a game CSU won by two.
KEEPING TOP OFFENSE IN CHECK
No. 1 Penn State came to Cleveland sporting DI's top offense, averaging nearly 19 goals per game. However, Cleveland State held the Nittany Lions to 15 goals with just six assists. Only Yale and Maryland have held Penn State to a lower goal total this season.
Photo courtesy of Tony Carter