Vikings Drop Inaugural Contest to Michigan, 13-8

Vikings Drop Inaugural Contest to Michigan, 13-8

Photo: Nick Wendel is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the first goal in program history.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University lacrosse team outshot Michigan in the program's inaugural game, but the Wolverines came away with a 13-8 victory in front of a sold-out crowd inside Krenzler Dome.

CSU began its existence as the 71st Division I men's lacrosse program by scoring the opening goal of the game off the stick of midfielder Nick Wendel.

"No matter what happens, and I believe this program will go on to do a lot of great things, this team is a part of history," head coach Dylan Sheridan said after the game. "Nobody can ever take that away. Despite the result, this is a win. I'm so proud of them—the way they played, that more so than anything. They played intelligent. They played our style. They controlled the tempo of the game. For a group of freshmen to control of the tempo of a Division I game, I couldn't ask for anything else."

Attackman Tristen Copeland led the Vikings offensively with two goals and an assist and added two ground balls. Wendel, midfielder Sherwin Gersten, attackman Jake Lewis and midfielder Danny Tesler each added two points on the evening. Caleb Espinoza made 12 saves between the pipes, often pleasing the crowd with his impressive stops.

Wendel tallied an unassisted strike 3:23 into the game to the delight of the CSU faithful to give the hosts an early lead.

Michigan answered with a pair of quick strikes to take a one-goal edge. The Vikings looked poised to equalize late in the first quarter with sustained possession but were unable to find the netting. A transition goal in the final minute of the first quarter gave Michigan a 3-1 edge after 15 minutes despite the Vikings owning an 11-6 advantage in shots in the first quarter.

Michigan came out firing in the second quarter and scored three times in 3:24. The young Vikings bent but did not break as they rallied with three consecutive goals of their own, a pair of Copeland strikes sandwiched around midfielder Jack Frickleton's first tally.

Michigan added one final goal before the intermission to set the halftime margin at 7-4. The Wolverines came out with energy in the second half and tallied five third-quarter goals to widen their lead.

Cleveland State showed a fighting mentality in the fourth quarter, scoring three times over the final 13:33 without allowing a Michigan goal.

Tesler contributed a game-high seven ground balls and won a team-best six faceoffs. Long-stick midfielder Bobby Kidd III posted two caused turnovers and three ground balls.

Seven different players scored goals for Cleveland State Saturday while six of the Vikings' eight goals were assisted.

"It's going to be a difficult season," Sheridan said. "There's going to be challenges. I think our kids are doing everything we ask, and we're doing it the right way, and we're building the foundation for a really successful program."

Cleveland State will play its first-ever road game next Sunday, Feb. 12, when it travels to No. 7/10 Duke.