Photo courtesy of Tony Carter
OFF AND RUNNING
After playing each of its past four games on the road, the Cleveland State University lacrosse team returns home for a pair of games this week, beginning with a midweek matchup against a first-time foe.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
After winning two of its first three games, Lafayette has dropped each of its past four, although two of those losses came to top-15 opponents. Under the guidance of interim head coach Ed Williams, junior Conor Walters and senior captain Will McCarthy carry the scoring load with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Freshman Gabe Smithline has won 61% of his faceoffs while junior Jonathan Anastos has played nearly every minute in the cage.
Outshooting its opposition has not been a successful formula thus far this season for Cleveland State. The Vikings are 0-3 when outshooting their foe. CSU had edges in ground balls and faceoffs in two of those three games and had fewer turnovers and penalties in two of the three. In the Vikings' five games that were not against nationally ranked foes, CSU has a cumulative 180-175 lead in shots.
Freshman Michael Wilson has made an impression over the first half of the season. He leads the team in goals (10) and points (14) and has posted a point in each of the first seven games, scoring in six of them. Wilson has three multi-goal outings in the past four games, including a season-best four points last time out at Canisius. He is shooting 43.5% on the year and owns 13 ground balls.
QUICK STRIKE VIKES
Cleveland State scored within 15 seconds of the beginning of the first and second quarters last time out at Canisius. It marked the seventh time in eight games in which CSU scored within 15 seconds of a faceoff and the ninth straight in which it scored within 25 seconds of a faceoff. Cleveland State has scored at least one goal within one minute of a faceoff in each of its 21 games thus far (16 times CSU has scored within 30 seconds).
STEPHEN STOPPING SHOTS
Stephen Russo made his third straight start in the cage last game and posted a season-high 14 saves. It was the second time in three games he hit double digits while saving more than half of the shots on goal. Russo has a .507 save mark in the past five games.
NATE THE GREAT
Defensive midfielder Nate Menendez entered the Feb. 25 game at Denver with three career goals, but he doubled that total against the Pioneers. His three goals on three shots made him the first Viking to have a hat trick against a nationally ranked opponent. Menendez has scored in three straight games entering this week.
MAN DOWN DOWN
On four occasions in the final seven games last season, Cleveland State was faced with the unenviable task of playing down two men due to concurrent penalties. However, three of the four times the Vikings were able to successfully kill off the 4-on-6 without allowing a goal. In its game at Denver Feb. 25, the Vikings had to play 4-on-6 against the Pioneers in the second quarter but were able to kill off the stretch unscathed.
HOLDING ON TO IT
Cleveland State had 15 turnovers last time out compared to the 12 committed by Canisius. It marked the first time in the seven games this season that the Vikings had more turnovers than their opponent.
THE MAN ON MAN UP
Man-up opportunities are often a great chance to score, but Jack Frickleton has been especially dangerous for CSU's man-up unit. He had five man-up tallies last season, tied for fourth among DI freshmen. He also had four assists during EMO chances in 2017. Frickleton has three man-up goals in the past five games.
In its win at Air Force Feb. 23, Cleveland State was credited with a perfect 24-for-24 mark on clears. It marked the first time in the young program history that the Vikings did not have a failed clear in a game.
LAST WE MET
This will be Cleveland State's first meeting with Lafayette in men's lacrosse. It will also be the first time the Vikings have faced any Patriot League squad.
SPREAD THE WEALTH
In its Feb. 17 game at Bellarmine, Cleveland State's offense came from a variety of sources. Eight Vikings scored while 12 had at least one point. The eight different goal scorers tied CSU's high against a DI foe, which was equaled again vs. Canisius, while the 12 players with a point are a new program record.