Vikings Drop Road Opener at Michigan

Vikings Drop Road Opener at Michigan

Photo courtesy of Tony Carter

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Cleveland State University lacrosse team fell to a Big Ten opponent for the second straight outing as the Vikings dropped their road opener at Michigan, 15-5, on a cold Saturday afternoon in the inaugural game at U-M Lacrosse Stadium.

The Vikings were nearly even on a number of statistical categories with the Wolverines. Each team won 12 faceoffs, and Cleveland State had fewer turnovers and was whistled for three fewer penalties than the Wolverines. Also, Michigan had only a slight, 23-20, advantage in shots on goal.

Sophomore long-stick midfielder Zach Whitenack continued his offensive form from the season opener. He scored two goals on three shots Saturday and added three ground balls. Whitenack, who has scored on four of five shots this season, now has back-to-back multi-goal games after not recording a point last season.

Freshman midfielder Jake Higgins posted the first two points of his career Saturday, scoring on his lone shot of the game while also adding an assist.

Freshman attackman Michael Wilson scored for the second straight game to start his career with his tally Saturday.

Michigan scored on the first possession of the game, but after stopping the Wolverines on their next four possessions, CSU tied the game when Wilson scored off a feed from classmate Derek Radke.

Michigan then went up, 2-1, but less than a minute later Tristen Copeland scored his first goal of the season to tie the proceedings.

Sophomore Danny Tesler won the ensuing faceoff but a shot by Radke would hit the post.

Michigan scored twice in the final three minutes of the opening quarter and two more to start the second to take a four-goal lead.

After winning a faceoff, Tesler nearly pulled one back for CSU but his shot his the post.

About a minute later, sophomore Jared Stepka caused a turnover. Whitenack picked up the ball in his defensive third, raced to the other end and scored his first of the game.

However, that would be the final goal of the half for Cleveland State as Michigan added two more goals to set the halftime margin.

After Tesler won the opening faceoff of the second half, Whitenack picked up the ground ball and scored within 10 seconds. The Vikings were looking to build some momentum after another Tesler faceoff win, but a CSU turnover followed, and Michigan punished the Vikings by scoring on the other end.

Cleveland State's offense went dry for the remainder of the quarter while Michigan would score three over the final five minutes of the frame.

The Vikings dominated the fourth quarter statistically, putting up 14 shots to only five for Michigan. Despite the imbalance, Cleveland State was unable to significantly dent Michigan's lead.

Tesler won 12 of 23 faceoffs on the day and added a game-high nine ground balls.

Radke's assist was his first career point.

Sophomore Marshal Amon made his first collegiate start Saturday and made six saves in the first half. Freshman Stephen Russo was one of two Vikings to make his collegiate debut Saturday, as he came in in the second half and stopped a pair of shots.

Cleveland State now has a quick turnaround as the Vikings are right back in action this Tuesday, Feb. 13, when they host Mercer at 7:00 p.m.