- Cleveland State battled well into the fourth quarter against No. 1 Penn State before dropping a 15-11 decision
- It was the first time Cleveland State has hosted the top-ranked team in the country
- Penn State performed worse than its season averages in nearly every statistical category
- The Vikings held the nation's top offense nearly four goals below its season average
- Freshman Andrew Hamilton won 13 of 22 faceoffs against preseason All-American Gerard Arceri
- Hamilton joined TD Ierlan as the only two players this season to win more than half their faceoffs against Arceri
- Jason Sullivan had a team-high five points, tying his career high, on two goals and three assists
- Sophomore Tristan Hanna had four points, including his fifth hat trick of the season
- Sophomore Stephen Russo made nine saves in 45 minutes of action
- Cleveland State outshot Penn State for the game, 46-39
- Cleveland State had four shots hit the post in the contest compared to zero for Penn State
The Cleveland State University lacrosse team showed great resiliency in the toughest of circumstances as the Vikings rallied to give No. 1 Penn State a fourth quarter scare before the Nittany Lions used a few late goals to cement a 15-11 win Saturday afternoon inside Krenzler Dome.
Penn State had taken a 6-1 lead late in the first quarter, but the Vikings outscored the Nittany Lions 9-6 over the next 36 minutes. CSU trailed by just two goals, 12-10, midway through the fourth quarter before top-ranked PSU scored a trio of late goals to ensure it escaped Cleveland with a win.
Penn State entered the day averaging 18.86 goals per game, but the Vikings—including defenders Skylar Jimenez, Quinn Lemke and Brandon Ruditz—held the No. 1 team nearly four tallies below that mark. PSU's 15 goals is tied for its second-lowest total of the season, with only Yale limiting the Nittany Lions to fewer goals.
Cleveland State also put forth strong efforts at the faceoff X and with its ride. Penn State cleared at a season-worst 70.8% on the day thanks to strong pressure from the Vikings.
True freshman Andrew Hamilton had the finest day of his young career, winning 13 of 22 faceoffs against preseason All-American Gerard Arceri. Hamilton joined NCAA single-season faceoff record holder TD Ierlan as the only two players to win more than half of their faceoffs against Arceri this season.
Sophomore Jason Sullivan tied his career highs in goals (2), assists (3) and points (5) to lead the Viking offense. He has multiple points in each of his last four games and has scored in five straight, tying the program standard.
Penn State scored twice on back-to-back possessions to take a 2-0 lead just over five minutes into the contest. After a PSU turnover in the middle of the field, the Vikings got the ball to sophomore long-stick midfielder Michael Harris, whose strike gave him goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
However, the rest of the quarter belonged to Penn State, due in part to their control of the faceoff in the period. The Nittany Lions scored twice following faceoff wins and twice following CSU turnovers to take a 6-1 lead with the clock winding down.
The Vikings then got a momentum-shifting goal just before the horn with Sullivan making a long-range pass to Hanna on the left wing for a strike.
Wendel would strike three times in the second quarter, with Sullivan, junior Noah Gleeson and Wilson providing the helpers. Penn State scored twice in between his tallies and took an 8-5 lead into intermission.
The teams each scored twice in the first seven minutes of the second half, with Hanna netting twice for the Vikings. The Nittany Lions then scored twice over the final five minutes of the frame to take a 12-7 lead after three quarters.
The Vikings again rallied, scoring three times over the first six minutes of fourth quarter to cut their deficit to just two. Junior Tristen Copeland played distributor twice, finding freshman Nick Polydoras and Wilson for goals, before Sullivan scored an unassisted tally.
Hamilton won the ensuing faceoff, and the Vikings had three shots to pull within a goal but were unable to do so.
Penn State scored on its next two possessions before the Vikings had a shot ring off the post, the fourth such occurrence of the day for the squad. Each team scored another tally to set the final margin.
Cleveland State had 13 saves on the day, including nine by sophomore Stephen Russo over the final three quarters.
Hanna's hat trick was his fifth in the last eight games while Wendel's was his first since 2017, and the fourth of his career.
Wilson now owns six multi-assist games and eight multi-point games this season, both of which top the team. Copeland notched his second multi-assist outing in the last three games.
Gleeson now has points in three straight games after having a single point in the first seven games. Polydoras has scored in three of the past four after not scoring in the first six games of his collegiate career.
Ten different Vikings caused a turnover Saturday, with Harris netting a pair.
Cleveland State will return to action in just over a week as it hosts Military Appreciation Night while welcoming defending MAAC champion Canisius Tuesday, April 2.
Photo courtesy of Tony Carter