CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University lacrosse team concluded the 2019 season with the best ride in the nation as the NCAA's final statistical rankings were tabulated following the close of the season earlier this week.
CSU led all of Division I in riding (or opponent clearing percentage) as opponents converted only 70.7 percent of their attempted clears against the Vikings.
"This is a stat we are extremely proud of because it's effort based," head coach Dylan Sheridan said. "I'm not sure there is a stat tracked that's more indicative of team culture. Our guys compete like crazy every day in practice. 'Aspirando et Perseverando' is a Latin phrase displayed in our locker room and sewn into the collar of our jerseys, in blue. It's the ethos of Vikings lacrosse. We look forward to setting the bar even higher next year."
The Vikings edged out national champion Virginia for the top spot in riding as the Cavaliers finished in second place in the category. Cleveland State's ride was 16 percent better than the national median in Division I.
Cleveland State held 11 of its opponents, including each of the final six, below a 71 percent clearing mark for the game and forced five of its foes into their worst clearing effort of the season. Only one CSU opponent cleared at a rate higher than the national average.
In the season finale against Detroit Mercy, the Vikings forced a season-high 10 failed clears while holding the Titans to a 61.5 percent clearing mark. That effort was a significant factor in the CSU victory, which guaranteed the young Viking program a winning season in its third year of existence.
Riding was one of eight team statistical categories in which the Vikings finished among the top 25 nationally. The others were faceoff winning percentage (.631), in which the Vikings were sixth nationally, man-down defense (.698), assists per game (7.53), scoring defense (10.27), caused turnovers per game (8.93), clearing percentage (.853) and points per game (19.00). The Vikings finished among the top half of Division I in 14 of the 16 team stat categories tracked by the NCAA.
A number of Vikings also rated highly in individual categories as well. Junior captain Danny Tesler finished eighth in faceoff percentage at 64.4 percent while sophomore Michael Wilson was 12th in assists per game (2.50). Tesler also finished among the top 40 in ground balls per game (5.07). Other Vikings to finish among the top 50 in a statistical category were: freshman Nick Polydoras in man-up goals (6), Wilson in points per game (3.79) and sophomore Tristan Hanna in shooting percentage (.400).
Cleveland State posted a winning record in its third season by winning seven of its final 10 games. After having one DI win in their first season, the Vikings had four last season before registering eight in 2019. In its third year of existence, Cleveland State had no true seniors on its roster in 2019.
Photo courtesy of Tony Carter