Hampton (2-6) at Cleveland State (2-8)
Saturday, April 7 | 1:00 p.m.
Cleveland, Ohio | Krenzler Field
OFF AND RUNNING
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team opens the final month of its season by hosting another young DI program. CSU is also hosting Community Day in conjunction with this weekend's game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Hampton is in its third season of Division I lacrosse. Head coach Lloyd Carter co-founded an intrumural program at the school that he then transitioned into the NCAA ranks. The Pirates have played twice since the Vikings last competed, losing a two-goal game last time out. Pierce Johnson and Elliott Johnson III are tied for the team lead with 18 points. Derian Williams-Sturdivant has done it all, owning 17 points, 26 GB's and 11 caused turnovers in 2018.
Freshman Michael Wilson has made an impression over the first two months of 2018. He leads the team in goals (13) and points (21) and has posted a point in each of the first 10 games, scoring in eight. Wilson has four multi-goal outings in the past seven games, including against nationally ranked Denver and Duke. He is shooting 44.8% in 2018, which would be the third highest mark by a DI rookie, but he is one shot shy of qualifying for the rankings.
STEPHEN STOPPING SHOTS, PART I
In five of the past six games, Stephen Russo has contributed double-digit saves. He also stopped more than half of the shots he faced in four of those outings. Russo is among the top 25 in DI save percentage and sits fifth among freshman with his .523 mark. Russo owns an even better save percentage (.534) when just his six starts are included. He also owns 15 ground balls on the season.
DEFENDING DANGEROUS DUKE
Cleveland State put forth perhaps the best defensive effort against Duke's high-powered offense this season. The Blue Devils are averaging 13.6 goals/game and shooting 37.2%. However, CSU held Duke to a .231 shooting mark, its lowest in its past 28 regular-season games. The Vikings' .654 save mark in the game was the best by a Duke opponent in the Blue Devils' past 37 games overall.
RUNNING AWAY FROM LEOPARDS
The Vikings led wire-to-wire in a 12-6 win over Lafayette March 13, outscoring the Leopards, 5-0, in the fourth quarter. On the Leopards' 11 offensive possessions in the final frame, CSU forced eight turnovers while freshman Stephen Russo made three saves.
Cleveland State ran a 'Lacrosse Academy' program at the Urban Community School this past fall, providing the school that caters to low-income children with a once-a-week 'class' in lacrosse. CSU players and coaches went from September into November to teach the basics of the game and interact with the kids while serving as role models for the younger generation. CSU's programming supported the mission and objectives of the Lacrosse Communities Project-Cleveland. US Lacrosse announced this fall that Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood was the second pilot site nationally for the governing body's national development model. Children that took part in the Urban Community School's fall partnership with Cleveland State are among those expected to be in attendance as part of this Saturday's Community Day game.
TOUGH TESTS FOR DEFENSE
Cleveland State's schedule might keep defensive coordinator Andy German up at night. After facing four of the 10 highest scoring offenses last year, CSU is set to face six teams in 2018 that are currently among the top 25 in scoring offense this year. According to Patrick McEwen's per-possession figures on Analytics Lacrosse, the Vikings faced the fifth-toughest set of offensive opponents in the 2017 season.
Outshooting its opposition had not been a successful formula for CSU until its March 13 win over Lafayette. The Vikings are 1-3 when outshooting their foes in 2018. CSU had edges in ground balls and faceoffs in two of those three losses and had fewer turnovers and penalties in two of the three. In the Vikings' six games that were not against teams in the current national rankings, CSU has a cumulative 212-206 lead in shots.
Danny Tesler led Cleveland State in faceoff wins (90) and ground balls (69) in the program's debut season. He ranked among the top five freshmen in DI in both ground balls/game and faceoff percentage. Tesler also contributed offensively, scoring 10 goals in 12 games. Tesler owns team bests in faceoff wins (83) and ground balls (47) and has added five points in 2018. He won a career-high 15 faceoffs March 4 at Canisius while collecting eight ground balls. Tesler is among the top 25 nationally in ground balls per game.
Thirteen of the 15 members of Cleveland State's freshmen class have made their collegiate debut thus far in the 2018 season.
Cleveland State has five sets of high school teammates on its roster. There are two Vikings each from Everest Academy (Tristan Hanna, Michael Harris), Faith Lutheran (Matt Manfredi, Nick Wendel), Seneca Valley (Adam Galovich, Brady Moze) and St. Francis de Sales (Carter Pavain, Blake Storer). Three CSU sophomores all went to William J. Palmer High School in Colorado: Isaac Atencio, Caleb Espinoza and Carter Jensen.
LAST WE MET
This will be the first meeting between Cleveland State and Hampton in lacrosse and also represents the first time the Vikings have faced an independent program.