LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Cleveland State University lacrosse team played host Bellarmine even over three quarters, but the second quarter proved to be the Vikings' undoing as the Knights claimed a 13-9 victory at a snow-covered Owsley B. Frazier Stadium Saturday afternoon.
CSU had advantages in shots and shots on goal in the contest, which had its start delayed over an hour due to snow impacting the field. It was the second straight outing in which the Vikings led in both those categories.
It was also the third consecutive affair in which Cleveland State had fewer turnovers and fewer penalties than its opponent. CSU had 13 turnovers compared to 19 for the Knights.
Cleveland State's offense was spread out among numerous student-athletes Saturday. Eight different Vikings scored while 12 contributed at least one point.
Freshman Michael Wilson scored two goals Saturday. He now has a four-game point streak to start his career and owns six goals over that span.
Sophomore Jared Stepka tallied a goal and an assist against the Knights. It was the second career goal for the defensive midfielder and his second assist of the season.
Bellarmine scored on its opening possession and its third possession, after blocking a CSU shot, to take a 2-0 lead fewer than three minutes in.
Cleveland State took the next seven shots of the game but was unable to score until Wilson found the net with an unassisted strike. Sophomore Jack Frickleton would tie the game just over a minute later, after a BU turnover, off a feed from classmate Noah Gleeson.
Bellarmine retook the lead, 3-2, but the Vikings came right back. After making a save, CSU quickly moved the ball upfield on a clear, and sophomore defenseman Isaac Atencio scored for his second career tally.
The Knights would then score twice in a span of just over a minute, with both possessions beginning off of Cleveland State turnovers.
Freshman Jake Higgins then won the first career faceoff he took and found Stepka, who scored with one second remaining in the first quarter.
Cleveland State took the first three shots of the second quarter, but two were saved and one was high. The Knights scored on their first possession of the period.
Cleveland State turned the ball over on its next two possessions, and the Knights would score a man-up tally right near the middle of the period.
Bellarmine ended the half strong, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Knights scored three times over the final three minutes, including two in the final 45 seconds, to open up a 10-5 lead at the intermission.
The Knights scored a man-up goal on their first possession of the second half to increase their lead.
Freshman Derek Radke got one back for the Vikings, courtesy of Stepka, near the midpoint of the quarter. However, that would be the final goal of the period.
BU scored on its first possession of the fourth quarter before Wilson and sophomore Nick Wendel scored back-to-back tallies to cut the CSU deficit to four.
With over eight minutes left, the Vikings won the ensuing faceoff and had a shot to cut the margin to three but were unable to do so.
The teams traded goals over the last five minutes to set final margin, with Sherwin Gersten scoring for CSU.
Bellarmine had just a 10-9 advantage on even-strength goals.
Freshman Stephen Russo made four saves on seven shots on goal while playing the second half.
Wendel now has points in 11 of his last 12 games. Radke's goal was the first of his career, and he now has points in three straight.
Higgins posted his second assist of the season and also went 5-for-9 on faceoffs.
In addition to scoring his second career goal, Kidd III won a trio of faceoffs.
Cleveland State will continue a stretch of four straight games away from home by heading west for a pair of games next weekend. The Vikings will play Air Force Friday, Feb. 23, before facing No. 3 Denver Sunday, Feb. 25. Both games will take place on Denver's campus.