THE OPENING KICK
Cleveland State hosts the 2018 national finalist in its non-conference finale as two northeast Ohio sides meet in Cleveland for the first time in six years.
TICKETS ON SALE
Tickets for the Akron match can be purchased by clicking here. Ticket prices are cheaper when buying in advance than for tickets purchased at the gate.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Akron enters with a 4-8-2 overall record on the campaign. After losing each of their first seven matches of the season, six of which came by one goal, the Zips have lost only once in their past seven matches. Akron has won three of its past four entering Tuesday's tilt, including a 3-0 blanking of SIU Edwardsville this past Friday. Akron returned seven starters from last year's team that reached the national championship match, including four All-Mid-American Conference performers in senior Skye Harter, junior David Egbo and sophomores Carlo Ritaccio and Sam Tojaga. Egbo leads the team in goals (5) and points (13). Joe Bowles (six starts) and Tor Saunders (eight starts) have split goalkeeping duties.
AGAINST THIS OPPONENT
Cleveland State is 11-38-4 all-time against Akron in a series that dates to 1954. Akron won at home, 2-0, in 2017 in the last meeting between the sides as they faced one another in an exhibition prior to the 2018 campaign. This will be the sixth meeting in the last 10 seasons and the first in Cleveland since the 2013 campaign, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Zips. Each of the past three meetings in Cleveland has ended in a 2-1 score line, with Akron winning two of the three. The exception to that came in 2010 when the Vikings knocked off an undefeated Akron side in late October, handing the Zips their only loss as they went on to win the national title.
LAST TIME OUT
Cleveland State saw its three-match winning streak snapped with a 2-1 setback to preseason league favorite Wright State. Vlad Jandric scored just past the hour mark to cut CSU's deficit in half before the Vikings then had a potential game-tying penalty kick saved. CSU held an 18-7 advantage in shots for the match.
COACH VS. ALMA MATER
When Cleveland State kicks off against Akron Tuesday night, CSU head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic will be facing off against the side he played for collegiately. The first-ever player from Akron to be drafted in the MLS SuperDraft, Ubiparipovic was a two-time All-American for Akron and was named the 2006 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. He was inducted into Akron's Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
GOALS FOR GABRIEL
Senior Gabriel Pewu tallied the game-winning goal in CSU's 2-0 win at IUPUI Oct. 19. He has four goals in the past four matches he's started. Pewu's team-leading seven goals have established a new career high as he has three regular-season matches remaining. Pewu is tied for third in the Horizon League in goals vs. Division I foes.
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 three times in CSU's 12 matches this season has a team won a match by more than one goal.
Despite allowing two goals to Wright State last time out, Cleveland State has allowed no more than one goal in eight matches this season. The Vikings currently lead the Horizon League in fewest goals allowed (13) 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 seven matches, including scoring in two of the past four. 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, 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.
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.
- Cleveland State has had 11 more shots than its opponent in each of its past two 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 4-1 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 10-3 at home this season
- Hayden Parente has a pair of assists this month from his outside back role
- Vlad Jandric has a pair of goals this season, both in the second half of home games
- Andrew Nicholas' goal Oct. 15 vs. Duquesne was his first as a collegian
- Nicholas had picked up his first collegiate point with an assist vs. Robert Morris Sept. 4
- 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
- Four Vikings—Lawrence Karpeh, Ryan Kolonick, Omeed Naeemy and Hayden Parente—have started all 12 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 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 five of Cleveland State's last 80 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