Ohio City Lacrosse and Cleveland State are hosting a clinic prior to the Cleveland State vs. Walsh game. The clinic, which is presented by the North Coast chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Association, will be held on Krenzler Field from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. The clinic is free for registered children and open to boys and girls in grades K-8. Cleveland State coaches and players will assist with the clinic. All children attending the clinic who have pre-registered will be admitted for free to the Cleveland State game that follows. Lacrosse sticks will be provided to those that need them. For more information and to register, please click here.
OFF AND RUNNING
After playing consecutive games, and three of its past four, at nationally ranked teams, the Cleveland State University lacrosse team returns home for the first time in over a month. The Vikings host Walsh Saturday night, the program's first outdoor home game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Walsh is in its fifth season of existence and is competing in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference for the first time. The Cavaliers set a program high with five wins in 2016. Senior midfielder Bryan Crim leads the team with 23 goals and has 97 in his career. Senior defenseman Mark Guzik tops the squad with 20 caused turnovers and owns 126 in his career. Senior Dylan Ciolino has started 10 of 11 games in the cage and has a .502 save percentage.
Caleb Espinoza has been racking up saves in Cleveland State's recent games. One game after notching 17 stops at Penn State, Espinoza collected 16 at Virginia. He has now hit double figures in stops in each of the past seven contests. He is among the top 10 in DI in total saves (134) and leads all rookies in that category. Espinoza would lead DI in saves per game (13.13) if the NCAA only counted CSU's games against DI opponents.
One aspect of the game that has seen a marked improvement for Cleveland State is its ability to clear. In their first seven games, the Vikings cleared 91-of-121 chances (.752). In its past four games, Cleveland State has cleared 64-of-75 opportunities (.853).
ANY GIVEN SATURDAY
With Cleveland State starting the closing stretch, five 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 and Stephen Masi have started every game either on attack or in the midfield.
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 second toughest so far with its opponents a combined 57-26. Meanwhile, using analytic-based statistics, Patrick McEwen of Inside Lacrosse has CSU with the fourth-hardest schedule.
TOUGH TESTS FOR DEFENSE
When it took the field last Tuesday at Virginia, Cleveland State was facing one of the top offenses in Division I. That was nothing new for the Vikings. Cleveland State has faced five top-25 offenses in terms of goals per game. On a per-possession basis, the Vikings have faced four of the top 10 offenses nationally. Every DI team the Vikings have faced this season is above average nationally in both goals per game and adjusted offense.
#1 x 2
When Cleveland State faced off at Penn State to close the month of March, it marked the second time in a one-month span that the Vikings played the top-ranked team in the USILA poll. The 16 most recent programs making their NCAA lacrosse debut in Division I combined to play the No. 1 ranked team just a single time.
The Vikings have killed off 14 of the past 21 EMO chances for their opponent over the past eight games. Cleveland State had killed off nine consecutive EMO chances for its opponent at one point, a stretch that ended in the fourth quarter at Penn State.
THE MAN ON MAN UP
Man-up opportunities are often a great chance to score goals, but Jack Frickleton has been especially dangerous for CSU's man-up unit thus far. He has five man-up tallies, two off the national lead and tied for the most by a freshman in Division I. He also has three assists during EMO chances this year.
MAN DOWN DOWN
In two of its past four 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.
COMPOSED IN CLEVELAND
Through the first 11 games, the Vikings have accrued 27 minutes in penalties, over 10 minutes fewer than their opponents. Cleveland State has had fewer penalty minutes than its opponent in eight games thus far.
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
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 24 of 37 goals in the second half over the past four 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.
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 eight of the team's first 11 games. Lewis is also the only Viking to contribute multiple points in nine or more contests. He owns six goals and six assists in the past five games and tops the team in all scoring categories with 24 points on 14 goals and 10 assists.
NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN
After going scoreless with a single point over the first eight games, Chase Baker has scored four goals, and tallied three ground balls, in the past three games. Baker scored twice at Penn State while earning his first start March 25.
HOLDING ON TO IT
Cleveland State had just 12 turnovers in its March 25 game at Penn State, a new season low.
Playing fewer than 60 miles from where he went to high school, Caleb Espinoza had a performance to remember in Cleveland State's contest at No. 1 Denver, as the rookie made 19 saves. Only four DI goaltenders have made more than 19 saves in a game this season.
After missing the better part of three games with an injury, midfielder Danny Tesler has returned to lead the Vikings in faceoff wins (55) and ground balls (45). He has scored nine goals while shooting at a 36% clip. Tesler has points in eight of the nine games he's played and is among the top 30 nationally in ground balls per game.
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 11 points in five games since the beginning of March, including the first two hat tricks of his career.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Tristen Copeland already had a pair of four-goal games to his credit, but he produced a four-assist performance March 16. He became the first Viking with four helpers in a game and the second with a five-point contest.
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT
Cleveland State has seen a marked progression on extra-man opportunities as the season has gone on. After starting 1-for-13 with an advantage, the Vikings have converted 13 of their last 32 chances with an extra man.
Cleveland State had been scheduled to play at nationally ranked Hofstra and Fairfield on back-to-back days over Spring Break. However, those contests were cancelled due to weather in the northeast U.S. With the Vikings facing the prospect of going two weeks without playing, head coach Dylan Sheridan added a contest at Wittenberg.
THREE TIMES THREE IN THIRD
In its win over Wittenberg March 16, 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.
OFF THE MARK
When Cleveland State faced off at Penn State to close the month of March, the Nittany Lions entered as the best DI team in shooting percentage, converting nearly 39% of their attempts. However, the CSU defense held Penn State under 32% for the game, the Lions' second-lowest mark of the season to that point.
Seven different Vikings found the back of the net in the season opener against Michigan. None of the 13 Division I startups within the past decade had more than seven distinct goal-scorers in its inaugural game. Richmond was the only one to match CSU's total.
With the addition of Cleveland State, the number of Division I men's lacrosse teams in Ohio doubled from one to two with the Vikings joining Ohio State. Cleveland State faced off with the Buckeyes in the inaugural Battle of Ohio March 11.
The University announced that lacrosse would be added to the intercollegiate athletics program March 30, 2015. It was 677 days from that announcement to the program's first regular-season game.
ONE AND ONLY
While the NCAA men's lacrosse ranks have grown rapidly in recent years, Cleveland State is the only addition to the club this season. The Vikings are the 71st institution currently sponsoring men's lacrosse at the Division I level. In three of the past four years, more than one program was playing its inaugural DI season.