THE OPENING KICK
Cleveland State closes a three-match road trip this weekend as it uses its Horizon League bye week to take on a Big Ten foe.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Ohio State enters with a 6-4-1 overall record on the campaign and have been off from competition since last Sunday. The Buckeyes own wins over UIC, Dayton, Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green, South Florida and Rutgers while they played to a scoreless draw at Northwestern. OSU had gone winless in four consecutive matches before ending that run with a win at Rutgers last time out. Five of OSU's six wins have been by one goal. Devyn Etling leads the team in goals (5) and points (11) while Jack Holland has three goals and four assists. Parker Siegfried has played every minute in goal for the Buckeyes.
AGAINST THIS OPPONENT
Cleveland State is 15-11-1 all-time against Ohio State in a series that dates back to 1967. The squads are meeting in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-09. Ohio State owns a 3-1 lead in the series in meetings within the past 10 seasons, but the Vikings claimed a win in Columbus last season. Lawrence Karpeh and Zack Kluever each scored against the Buckeyes last season to help the Vikings to a 2-0 win. Kluever's goal was the first of his career. Each of the last eight matches in the series have resulted in a shutout for the winning side.
LAST TIME OUT
Cleveland State rallied from a two-goal, second-half deficit to force overtime, but host Cincinnati scored a golden goal off a corner kick to claim a 3-2 victory in a midweek matchup.
GOALS FOR GABRIEL
Senior Gabriel Pewu notched his team-leading fourth goal of the season last time out. His goal against Cincinnati was his first header goal of the season. Pewu is on pace to surpass his career high of six goals that he tallied a season ago.
OH SO CLOSE
In all four of Cleveland State's losses this season, the Vikings came up one goal short. Only once in CSU's eight matches this season has a team won a match by more than one goal.
Despite allowing three goals in its overtime loss last time out, Cleveland State has allowed no more than one goal in six of its eight matches this season. The Vikings rank second on the Horizon League in goals against average with their 1.08 mark.
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 and transfer Andrew Nicholas are the two 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.
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 a pair of Power Five sides last season, notching wins over Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
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.
- Pablo Kawecki scored his first collegiate goal last match after coming on as a substitute
- CSU has erased a deficit with back-to-back goals within 15 minutes in three matches this season
- Cleveland State has won its first three home matches for the first time since 2010
- CSU has outscored its opposition 7-1 at home this season
- Eight Vikings have started all eight matches this season
- Lawrence Karpeh is second on the team in goals (2) and points (5) after his assist last match
- 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
- Andrew Nicholas' assist vs. Robert Morris was his first as a collegian
- Omeed Naeemy notched his first shutout as a collegian vs. Robert Morris
- Omeed Naeemy was named HL Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 30
- Jannis Schmidt was named HL Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 3
- Forty nine of Cleveland State's last 72 goals have come in the second half. In fact, 18 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