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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #45 Cleveland State Vikings

The Vikings finished above .500 in just their third season of existence.

Cleveland State Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#45 Cleveland State Vikings

Conference: Independent
2019 Record: 8-7
Head coach: Dylan Sheridan (3rd Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Tristan Hanna (26)
Assists: Michael Wilson (35)
Points: Michael Wilson (53)
Faceoffs: Danny Tesler (161-of-250; 64.4%)
Ground balls: Danny Tesler (76)
Caused turnovers: Skylar Jimenez (18)
Goals against average: Stephen Russo (10.26 GAA)
Save percentage: Stephen Russo (49.7%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: None
Senior scoring departing: 0 of 285 points (0%)
Senior starts lost: 0 of 150 (0%)

Season Summary

Cleveland State took a big leap in 2019, finishing with an 8-7 record and doubling last season’s win total. And they did it without any true seniors. They could have competed for a conference championship, but they have yet to find a conference after their third season.

The Vikings began the season with a 1-4 record, but the team competed very well against Ohio State, Michigan, and Air Force.

That was by far their toughest month in the season. March began with three straight wins over Mercer, Marquette, and Lafayette. Cleveland State’s victory against the Golden Eagles helped with Marquette not having nearly half of their team for the game. However, the month ended with two losses against North Carolina and Penn State. Despite being outscored 6-2 in the first quarter, the Vikings tied the Nittany Lions 9-9 in the final three quarters and made it a two-goal game with 9:28 left in the fourth stanza.

April was the complete opposite of February for Cleveland State, finishing 4-1 in the month to be above .500 to end the year. The team defeated Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Utah, and Detroit Mercy to end the year, with their lone loss coming against Robert Morris. The rough February and the Penn State game in March certainly helped the team, who won by nine or more goals in three of their final four victories.

Michael Wilson shattered his previous year’s point total of 35 with 53 to lead the team. Tristan Hanna led the team with 26 goals and was the team’s other player with at least 30 points. Jason Sullivan, Nick Wendel, and Tristen Copeland all had at least 20 points, while freshman Nick Polydoras, Adam Clark, and Jack Frickleton registered in the double-digits as well.

Five Viking defenders had at least 10 caused turnovers, led by Skylar Jimenez’s 18. Brandon Ruditz, Zach Whitenack, Quinn Lemke, and Michael Harris added to those numbers, and Isaac Atencio was just shy of 10 CTs with nine. Cleveland State also led the country in riding with a 70.7% opposition success rate. Danny Tesler went over 60% in faceoff wins and also had some help in freshman Andrew Hamilton. Caleb Espinoza started 10 games in goal and appeared in 12 total, but saw classmate Stephen Russo take over in most occurrences. Russo played in 13 games and finished with a better goals against average and a better save percentage than Espinoza.

Looking Ahead

If the Vikings went 8-7 in 2019, all signs pointed to the team being even better in 2020. But the biggest surprise for the team came when head coach Dylan Sheridan accepted an assistant job at Ohio State earlier in the summer. Andy German is currently the interim head coach while a search gets underway.

Another obstacle is still finding a conference. The MAAC would not accept the Vikings in men’s lacrosse, passing over them and adding St. Bonaventure prior to the start of their first season in 2019. Finding a home will certainly continue, and it could be their top priority for the future of the program.

But as for the on-field product, Cleveland State will have plenty to cheer for, and perhaps a chance to send their inaugural class off with a double-digit win season.

Poll

How many wins will Cleveland State get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    0-5
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    6-7
    (12 votes)
  • 35%
    8-9
    (22 votes)
  • 35%
    10+
    (22 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now