It was a fantastic third season. The Vikes finished red hot, winning 7 of our final 10 games. The month of April started and finished with wins at home. On April 2nd, we avenged a loss from last season by defeating Canisius (defending MAAC Champion) on Military Appreciation Night. Along with the 19-10 victory, we raised over $6,000 for the USO of Northern Ohio. Days later, we defeated St. Bonaventure, 18-5, and hosted our annual Community Game, which saw more than a hundred children attend our post-game clinic. After a home loss to RMU, we reeled off two straight wins against Utah and Detroit to conclude the season.
With the victory over the Titans, the Vikings secured the program's first ever winning season & captured the 'Horizon League Championship' for the second time in three seasons.
On the field, the team's performance continues to improve. Several elements contributed to our overall success. A couple areas in particular were noteworthy. Our ride in the 2019 season was tremendous—opponents could only muster successful clears 70.7% of the time, making Vikings Lacrosse the second-best riding team in the country (just barely behind Virginia as of now). In addition, our special teams saw significant improvements.
The CSU extra-man unit converted on 35.1% of our opportunities, up from 25.5% in 2018. Meanwhile our man-down unit held opponents to 30.2% this season, a significant decrease from the 42.4% they converted in 2018.
Our FO unit was equally impactful, finishing at 63.1%, placing the Vikings in the top 7 nationally in that category.
- Freshmen Andrew Hamilton finished the season at 61.5%.
- Junior captain Danny Tesler finished at 64.4%.
- Danny was the first Viking to pick up 75 GB's in a season (76).
- DTis also the program's first to 200 GB in a career (215) and first to 350 career face-off wins (386).
- No other team in D1 had two players FO over 60%.
Offensively, the team's production was improved & balanced. Our goals/game average jumped from 8.64 to 11.47, and 66% of the team's goals were assisted. Ten different Vikings registered double digit points.
- Michael Wilson (So., Attack) led the team offensively and became the first Viking to surpass 80 career points (88), on the back of a program-record-setting 53-point 2019 season.
Defensively, we allowed over one goal fewer per game than in 2018 and caused more turnovers than our opponents. Three different Vikings caused 15 or more turnovers: (Jr.) Skylar Jimenez, (Jr.) Brandon Ruditz, and (Jr.) Zach Whitenack. In addition, the Vikings spent 9 fewer minutes in the penalty box than our opposition.
Throughout the season, both home and away, Vikings fans - friends & family - were relentless in their support of the program. We are beyond grateful for our extended Viking family and look forward to their continued support.
Earlier this month we celebrated Senior Day, honoring our lone graduating team member— Sherwin Gersten. A Southern California native, Sherwin has already secured employment in downtown Cleveland.
As we head into our fourth season, the inaugural class embarks on their final campaign, and expectations have never been higher. I have no doubt their leadership will move the program forward as they look to cement their legacy in lacrosse history. Personally, I am incredibly thankful for my terrific staff and our team around the team. These people do an unbelievable job behind the scenes and empower our young men to compete and perform at the highest level, on and off the field. As always, the best is yet to come.