THE OPENING KICK
Cleveland State heads to the Horizon League leader for its road finale as two Horizon League rivals meet in Chicago.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
UIC enters with an 11-4-0 overall record on the campaign. Amazingly, the Flames have had six games head to overtime this season and have posted a 5-1 record in those affairs. UIC is coming off a 7-1 drubbing at IUPUI this past weekend. UIC has won 20 consecutive matches at home, a new program record and Division I's longest active home win streak. UIC has the third highest scoring offense in Division I, averaging 2.80 goals per game. Bar Hazut leads the team in goals (10) and points (25) while reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Jesus Perez tops the Flames in assists (8) and is second in points (20). Sokratis Vasilas has played every minute in goal for UIC.
AGAINST THIS OPPONENT
Cleveland State is 24-16-4 all-time against UIC in a series that dates back to 1971. Its 24 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 streak the Vikings have with an opponent. Cleveland State won at home, 3-1, last season on the strength of Vlad Jandric's natural hat trick. The Vikings are 7-3-2 against the Flames in meetings held within the past 10 years. UIC has won the past two meetings in Chicago, both of which came in 2017, where the Flames are 11-10-1 all-time against the Vikings.
LAST TIME OUT
Cleveland State got back on the winning track with a 3-1 victory over 2018 national runner-up Akron. Vlad Jandric equalized with under three minutes to play in the first half before Gabriel Pewu's second-half brace propelled CSU to the win. CSU knocked off the Zips for the first time since 2010.
COACH VS. ALMA MATER
When Cleveland State kicks off against UIC Saturday night, CSU head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic will be facing off against a side he played for collegiately. It will mark the second straight match in which Ubiparipovic will be facing an alma mater as he transferred from UIC to Akron during his collegiate career. He led the Flames with nine assists in 2002 and finished second on the team with 25 points. Ubiparipovic will be seeking a second straight win over his alma mater after he led CSU to a win over the Zips last time out.
GOALS FOR GABRIEL
Senior Gabriel Pewu tallied his second brace of the season in CSU's 3-1 win over Akron last time out. He has six goals in the past five matches he's started. Pewu's team-leading nine goals have easily surpassed his previous career high as he has two regular-season matches remaining. Pewu is second in the Horizon League in goals per game.
POWERING PAST POWER FIVE
With its win Oct. 12 at Ohio State, the Vikings claimed their second result this season against a Power Five opponent. In fact, Cleveland State is now 3-0-1 in its past four matches against Power Five foes, all of which have come on the road. The Vikings have scored 11 total goals in these matches and came back from deficits in two of the matches to earn a result.
OH SO CLOSE
In every one of Cleveland State's losses this season, the Vikings came up one goal short. Only four times in CSU's 13 matches this season has a team won a match by more than one goal.
After its 3-1 win over Akron last time out, Cleveland State has allowed no more than one goal in nine matches this season. The Vikings currently lead the Horizon League in fewest goals allowed (14) and goals against average (1.05).
Senior Lawrence Karpeh sits second on the team in goals (4) and points (10). Karpeh has a point in five of the past eight matches, including scoring in two of the past five. He scored at Ohio State for a second straight season, finding the net via a header for the first time overall since he was a freshman. He then scored what proved to be the winning goal Oct. 15 vs. Duquesne, converting a penalty kick that he had drawn.
BEATING THE BUCKEYES AGAIN
Cleveland State claimed a 3-2 win at Ohio State in mid-October as Gabriel Pewu had a brace and Lawrence Karpeh also scored. CSU went up 2-0 only to see the Buckeyes find the equalizers in a span of fewer than 30 seconds, neither of which came from the run of play. However, Pewu broke the deadlock fewer than three minutes later with his winning strike. It marked the second straight season in which CSU won at Ohio State.
WORKING (AND WINNING IN) OVERTIME
Cleveland State posted a 2-1 victory over Northern Kentucky in overtime Sept. 21. The Vikings' most recent previous overtime victory had come in the 2015 Horizon League Tournament. At the time, it marked CSU's first win in extra time in its past 57 matches and its first win in its past 13 overtime matches.
Twenty of the 21 outfield Vikings have played this season. Seven Vikings have made their NCAA soccer debut this season, six outfield players and goaltender Omeed Naeemy. Naeemy, freshman Pablo Kawecki and transfer Andrew Nicholas are the three debutants to start a match thus far this season.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL:
Trailing 2-0 with under 20 minutes to play in the season opener at Louisville, Cleveland State rallied to earn a result. It was the first time in CSU's last 50 matches that it had rallied from a multi-goal deficit to earn a result. The most recent such occurrence had come at Robert Morris in August 2016. CSU has now come from behind to earn a result at least once in 14 consecutive seasons and has achieved the feat on the road in nine straight seasons.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL, PART II
Trailing 1-0 with under five minutes to play in the HL home opener, Cleveland State rallied to claim the win. The Vikings tied the match in the 86th minute before winning it in the 100th minute on a Gabriel Pewu strike. It was the second time this season the Vikings scored two goals in under 15 minutes to turn a deficit into a result.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL, PART III
Trailing 1-0 against perennial power Akron in the non-conference finale, Cleveland State rallied to claim the win. Vlad Jandric tied the match before Gabriel Pewu scored twice in a span of 105 seconds to give the Vikings the lead for good in the second half. The victory ended a four-match losing streak in the series against the Zips.
ALRIGHT AGAINST ACC:
In earning a 2-2 tie against Louisville to open its season, Cleveland State secured a result against an ACC side for the fourth year in the last five seasons. The Vikings took down Pittsburgh on the road last season, 4-3.
LEADING THE CHARGE:
Cleveland State is under the direction of first-year head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic in 2019. Ubiparipovic, who attended high school and college in Northeast Ohio, was elevated after previously serving as the program's top assistant. He appeared in over 200 professional soccer matches, including an even 100 in the Major League Soccer (MLS) ranks with New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact.
- Vlad Jandric has scored in each of the past two matches and also added an assist
- All of Jandric's points this season have come in home matches
- Stjepan Mijic-Barisic notched his first collegiate point with his game-winning assist last time out
- Cleveland State has had 11 more shots than its opponent in two of its past three matches
- Thomas Bielanski scored his first goal since September 2017 in the Oct. 19 win at IUPUI
- Cleveland State posted 22 shots Oct. 19 at IUPUI, its most in a regulation match since 2016
- Cleveland State did not allow a shot on goal in its Oct. 15 win over Duquesne
- Cleveland State is 5-1 overall at home this season
- Cleveland State had won its first four home matches for the first time since 1987
- CSU has outscored its opposition 13-4 at home this season
- Hayden Parente has a pair of assists this month from his outside back role
- Andrew Nicholas' goal Oct. 15 vs. Duquesne was his first as a collegian
- Nicholas has a team-high three assists this season
- Pablo Kawecki scored his first collegiate goal Oct. 9 at Cincinnati and notched his first assist Oct. 15 vs. Duquesne
- Thomas Bielanski notched the first multi-assist match of his career at Ohio State
- CSU has erased a deficit with back-to-back goals within 15 minutes of each other in three matches this season
- The Vikings also used back-to-back goals within 15 minutes of each other to turn a second-half tie into a lead against Akron
- Four Vikings—Lawrence Karpeh, Ryan Kolonick, Omeed Naeemy and Hayden Parente—have started all 13 matches this season
- Jannis Schmidt totaled a goal and two assists in the first two matches of the season
- CSU's win over Northern Kentucky was its first in the five all-time meetings between the teams
- CSU has now scored three goals after the 85th minute in the last two meetings with NKU
- Thomas M'Barek's goal vs. Robert Morris was the first of his collegiate career
- Omeed Naeemy notched his first shutout as a collegian vs. Robert Morris
- Naeemy made a season-high nine saves in the win over Akron
- Naeemy has four shutouts on the season
- Ryan Kolonick was named HL Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 21
- Gabriel Pewu was named HL Offensive Player of the Week Oct. 14
- Omeed Naeemy was named HL Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 30
- Jannis Schmidt was named HL Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 3
- Fifty seven of Cleveland State's last 83 goals have come in the second half. In fact, 19 of those goals have taken place in the 77th minute or later
- The last seven Cleveland State head coaches combined to post a 5-0-2 record in their first game as the Vikings' head coach
PRESEASON FREE KICKS:
- Vlad Jandric and Thomas M'Barek were both selected All-Horizon League Second Team in 2018
- It was the second straight season that Jandric earned all-conference honors
- Cleveland State returns 17 student-athletes from last year's roster, 16 of which competed in a match
- Six Vikings return that started at least 10 matches last season, with five of those six competing in at least 14 of the squad's 15 fixtures in 2018
- CSU has eight newcomers on the roster, four true freshmen and four transfers
- Thomas M'Barek was the only Viking to start all 15 matches last season
- Gabriel Pewu and Jannis Schmidt were the other returning Vikings to play in all 15 fixtures in 2018
- Cleveland State is facing at least one Big Ten opponent for the third straight year and an ACC foe for the fifth time in six seasons
- The Vikings will face four of the top 40 programs from last season's final RPI, including two of the top five
- Cleveland State has earned a top-four seed in the HL Tournament seven times since the league went to a six-team format, which is the highest such figure among its league peers
- Cleveland State won consecutive matches at Ohio State and at Pittsburgh last season, the first time since 1984 the Vikings won back-to-back matches against teams currently in a Power Five conference
- Cleveland State's win at Ohio State last season was its first victory over the Buckeyes since 1996 (though the sides have not played every year since then)
- With a 2-0 win at Ohio State last year, Cleveland State has now shut out a Power Five side in three of the past four seasons and six of the past nine
- The Vikings twice rallied from deficits to claim a 4-3 win at Pitt, scoring the winning goal with under six minutes remaining
- Gabriel Pewu had six goals and an assist in the final 11 matches last season
- Vlad Jandric had a hat trick in last year's 3-1 win over UIC, the first by a Viking since 2013
- The Vikings were only outshot once in Horizon League play last season
- Among the 75 starts made by Vikings on defense or in goal last season: 31 starts were made by true freshman or redshirt freshman, 40 starts were made by sophomores with two starts by a junior and two by a senior
- Ryan Kolonick led all CSU freshmen with 11 starting assignments last season
- Thomas M'Barek was named Academic All-Horizon League in 2018
- Noah Pio has joined the Viking coaching staff as a student assistant after playing for CSU the past three seasons