CLEVELAND, Ohio – Freshman goaltender Stephen Russo of the Cleveland State University lacrosse team was named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Team of the Week Tuesday afternoon.
Russo becomes the first Viking to earn this honor, as the association recognizes 10 worthy individual performances each week from the past seven days.
Over two games this past week, Russo posted a .651 save percentage and a 7.50 goals against average.
Russo began the week by notching 11 saves while allowing only six goals in a victory over Lafayette. With Cleveland State clinging to a 7-6 lead entering the fourth quarter, Russo helped shut out the Leopards in the final 15 minutes to allow the Vikings to run away with the win. Russo also added four ground balls in the win over Lafayette. Lafayette's .171 shooting mark against the Vikings was its second lowest this season. The Leopards then went on to score 11 goals in their next game against nationally ranked Lehigh.
The game against Lafayette was only the beginning of Russo's exploits on the week. In this past weekend's contest against No. 3 Duke, Russo made 17 saves while allowing nine goals. The 17 saves are the most by an opponent against Duke this season. Duke's nine goals tied a season low while the Blue Devils were also held to season lows in assists (2) and shooting percentage (.231). Even after its game against Cleveland State, Duke is averaging 13.9 goals per game and is scoring on over 38% of its shots, both marks which rank it among the top three in Division I.
Russo's .654 save mark against Duke is the best by an opposing team against the Blue Devils in their past 36 games overall. Duke's shooting percentage against Cleveland State also marked its lowest in its past 27 regular-season games.
With his performances this past week, Russo now sits among the top 20 in Division I in save percentage (.544). He is third among freshmen, less than 10 percentage points out of the top spot. In the five games he has started, Russo owns a .561 save percentage.
Russo was the only goaltender to be recognized this week and one of only two freshmen.
Cleveland State will close the month this Saturday, March 24, with a trip to Penn State, its third Big Ten opponent of the season.