OFF AND RUNNING
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team continues its road trip by playing the No. 1 team in the country on the road for the second time in its second month of existence. The Vikings face Penn State, their third Big Ten foe of the season, Saturday at Noon.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
At 8-0, Penn State is off to its best start in program history and ascended to the top spot in the USILA rankings in this week's poll. The Nittany Lions lead Division I in shooting percentage, which is propelling them to a top-five scoring offense nationally. Gerard Arceri has won 68% of his faceoffs and collected nearly 10 GB per game, ranking among the top two nationally in both categories. Mac O'Keefe has scored 30 goals and sits second in goals/game.
Jake Lewis has served as not only the Vikings' top offensive weapon thus far this season, but also the team's most consistent performer. He is the only Viking to score in seven of the team's first nine games. Lewis is also the only Viking to contribute multiple points in eight or more contests. He owns four goals and five assists in his past three games and tops the team in all scoring categories.
Midfielder Danny Tesler has picked up where he left off upon returning from injury March 11 at Ohio State. Tesler has won 62% of his faceoffs this year and leads the team with 36 ground balls. He has scored eight goals while shooting at a 38% clip. Tesler is riding a seven-game point streak and is fifth nationally in ground balls per game among freshmen. He has won 24 of his past 35 faceoffs.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH WENDEL
After scoring the first goal in program history and notching three points in the first two games, midfielder Nick Wendel suffered an injury and did not tally a point in the next four games. Wendel has eight points in three games in the month of March, including the first two hat tricks of his career.
No matter which metric you use, Cleveland State has faced one of the toughest schedules in D1 this season. The NCAA ranks CSU's slate as the toughest so far with its opponents a combined 30-12. Meanwhile, using analytic-based statistics, Patrick McEwen of Inside Lacrosse has CSU with the second-hardest schedule.
ANY GIVEN SATURDAY
With its second month of action almost complete, six Vikings have started every game thus far. Tristen Copeland has started every game on attack, Quinn Lemke has suited up each contest on defense and Caleb Espinoza has been between the pipes every game. Noah Gleeson, Jake Lewis and Stephen Masi have started every game either on attack or in the midfield.
Caleb Espinoza has been racking up saves in Cleveland State's recent games. The rookie has hit double figures in stops in each of the past five games and is one of six DI goaltenders to have at least 100 saves in 2017.
Cleveland State has killed off eight consecutive EMO chances for its opponent and 13 of the last 17 it has faced over its past six games.
MAN DOWN DOWN
In each of its past two games, Cleveland State has been faced with the unenviable task of playing down two men due to concurrent penalties. However, both times the Vikings were able to successfully kill off the 4-on-6 without allowing a goal.
THREE TIMES THREE IN THIRD
In its win over Wittenberg last time out, Cleveland State scored half of its goals, nine of the 18, in the third quarter. The Viking scored five goals in the final 5:07 of the frame to tally a season best for goals in a quarter. The nine goals were scored by eight different Vikings.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Tristen Copeland already had a pair of four-goal games to his credit, but he produced a four-assist performance last time out. He became the first Viking with four helpers and the second with a five-point game.
COMPOSED IN CLEVELAND
Through the first nine games, the Vikings have accrued 22:30 in penalties, seven minutes fewer than their opponents. Cleveland State has had fewer penalty minutes than its opponent in six games thus far.
FLIPPING THE SCRPT
Through its first seven games, Cleveland State scored 39 of its 54 goals in the first half. However, the Vikings have flipped that narrative on its head recently, as CSU has scored 15 of 22 goals in the second half over the past two games.
FROM HERE AND EVERYWHERE
The 10 players in the starting lineup for Cleveland State's first two games of the season went to high school in eight states, ranging from upstate New York to Las Vegas to North Carolina to the Seattle area.