THE OPENING KICK:
• Cleveland State continues postseason play by facing the tournament host.
• CSU travels to UIC Thursday, Nov. 9, at 8:00 p.m Eastern time.
• CSU is 23-16-4 all-time against the Flames. Its 23 wins against UIC are its most against any opponent in program history.
• CSU and UIC have played at least once every season since 1983, tied for the longest active consecutive streak the Vikings have with an opponent.
• The Vikings have held the upper hand in the series with the Flames recently as CSU has won six of the past eight meetings. Nine of the past 10 have been decided by a single goal or ended in a tie.
• Cleveland State is just 9-10-1 all-time at UIC after dropping a 1-0 double overtime decision earlier this season on a penalty kick.
LAST TIME OUT:
• The Vikings won their postseason opener, 4-0, at Wright State.
• Four different players scored in the win for CSU. Vlad Jandric gave the guests the lead at the interval before CSU added three second half strikes.
• Kirk Harwat is in his first season as head coach for CSU after serving as an assistant for the program for the past five seasons.
• Senior midfielder Alec Nagucki, a two-time All-Horizon League honoree, has played in every match--all 73--since he arrived on campus.
• While it took the fifth seed this season, CSU has been seeded fourth or better in the Horizon League Tournament in eight of the past 10 seasons.
• CSU lost two central defenders from last year that combined to play in 108 matches, with Sergio Manesio twice earning HL Defensive Player of the Year. CSU has started two newcomers at central defense in 12 of 18 matches.
• Noah Pio has a point in seven of the past 11 matches and has scored in four of them. Pio was tied for third in the League in shots in League matches with 27. He was also among the top 10 in points, goals and assists.
• Seven CSU players have posted their first point as a Viking in 2017, with four--Bielanski, Conde, Ianiro and Jandric--scoring for the first time.
• Thirty of Cleveland State's last 41 goals have come in the second half. In fact, 12 of those goals have taken place in the 77th minute or later.
• Six of Cleveland State's 10 newcomers have started a match this season.
• The Vikings allowed the fewest goals in the Horizon League last season, conceding 16 goals in 17 matches.
• Six of CSU's eight non-League opponents are in the top 90 in the RPI. Five of the eight are among the top 55, including three in the top 15.
• Three Vikings have played in all 18 matches--seniors Hesham Hammouda & Alec Nagucki and junior Noah Pio. Hammouda tops the team with 17 starts.
• CSU has allowed eight goals from the run of play in its last 15 matches.
• Cleveland State has posted a 0.84 goals against mark against Horizon League foes in 2017, the best mark of a team that made the HL Tournament.
• Vlad Jandric and Noah Pio have combined to score eight of CSU's last 13 goals against Horizon League opponents.
• CSU is the only Horizon League team not to attempt a penalty this season. Eight of the other nine have made multiple penalty kicks in 2017.
• CSU's 4-0 quarterfinal win was its largest margin of victory in Horizon League Tournament history. It also was the second time this season that the Vikings beat a League foe on the road by at least three goals.
• Vlad Jandric, Alec Nagucki and Noah Pio each were selected All-League Second Team. Thomas M'Barek was named to the All-Freshman Team
• CSU is 95th in the NCAA's RPI rankings. If the Vikings can hold that position, it would be the first time since 2012 that CSU cracked the top 100.
• In its Oct. 24 match at Cincinnati, head coach Kirk Harwat started four true freshmen along the back line. CSU had three true freshmen starting on defense in two other matches, including its quarterfinal win over Wright State.
• Entering this week, Cleveland State ranked 15th in non-conference strength of schedule among the more than 200 Division I programs.
• Junior Noah Pio has taken 46 shots this season, the highest total by a Viking since the 2003 season.
• CSU's two senior co-captains are neck and neck for the team lead in minutes played with Alec Nagucki having seen 1,535 minutes of action and Hesham Hammouda having played 1,499 minutes.
• Kareem Banton and Madifing Conde are the two CSU defenders to score this season. Freshman defenders Ben Hryszko and Thomas M'Barek have also registered assists in 2017.
• Antonio Burgoa has served a variety of roles this season. He has started as a central defender, a holding midfielder, an attacking midfielder and a target forward. Vlad Jandric has also displayed versatility, starting in central defense, a holding midfield role and a central playmaking midfield role.
• Junior Noah Pio has scored or assisted on eight of CSU's last 11 goals against Horizon League foes.
• Cleveland State has competed in eight of the past nine League Tournaments, the most among its League peers.
• Seniors Kareem Banton and Alec Nagucki, both of whom have primarily played in the defensive half of the pitch most of their careers, have each scored this season. In both cases, the goal was the player's first since his freshman season.
• Jordan Ianiro has goals in the last two matches after not scoring in his first 32 matches ... Defender Kareem Banton has points in three straight matches after not having a point in the previous 31 ... Lawrence Karpeh has points in three of the past four matches after not having one since the season opener.
• If Cleveland State is able to advance past UIC, the Vikings would play in the Horizon League championship match at UIC this Saturday, Nov. 11. CSU would play the winner of the Green Bay vs. Detroit Mercy match.
HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT NOTES:
• Cleveland State has been the fifth seed in the Horizon League Tournament twice previously. This is the second time that CSU advanced to the semifinals as the fifth seed.
• The only time a fifth seed has reached the Horizon League championship was Loyola (Ill.) in 2008.
• Thursday's match will be the fifth meeting between these programs in the Horizon League Tournament. Cleveland State is 1-2-1 in those matches, with the Vikings advancing on penalty kicks in the most recent meeting in 2009. The only time the teams met in the semifinals was a 5-3 CSU win in 2002.
• UIC is the defending Horizon League Tournament champion, and the Flames will be participating in the semifinals for the third straight year. However, when UIC last hosted the semifinals in 2015, the Flames fell to sixth-seeded Wright State.
• CSU qualified for the semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons, tied for the most in the League in that span.
Vikings to Face Defending Champs in Semifinals
THE OPENING KICK: