Steven Principe's hat trick leads Lions to 5-3 win over Mont Alto

Steven Principe's hat trick leads Lions to 5-3 win over Mont Alto

HAZLETON, Pa. - Sophomore Steven Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) netted three goals as Penn State Hazleton held on for a 5-3 win over visiting Penn State Mont Alto on Wednesday night. The home opener for the Lions sees them improve to 2-1 overall, and 1-0 in the PSUAC. 

On a humid night and a dry, fast field, Hazleton jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage on junior Kyle Venditti's (Berwick, Pa.) goal eight minutes into action. The teams went scoreless the next 13 minutes before Principe added back-to-back goals in less than 20 seconds. Principe scored on an assist from his brother, sophomore Michael Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.), in the 21st minute, then stole Mont Alto's ensuing kick-off and went to the net unassisted to give Hazleton the 3-0 lead.

Mont Alto answered with a goal from Kristopher Settlage during the 33rd minute to cut the deficit to 3-1 for the visitors. Steven Principe quickly extended the lead back to three as the second half began, again unassisted as he sidestepped the keeper and put it in the back of the net for a 4-1 advantage in the 51st minute. 

Hazleton could not put Mont Alto away, as the Lions attack forced defensive lapses that led to two Corey Myers goals, one in the 63rd minute and the next just four minutes later. Holding onto a slim 4-3 lead, sophomore Joseph Torres (Garden City, NY) sent a rocket to the corner of the net from 22 yards out to give the Nittany Lions the two goal lead in the 73rd minute. 

The win puts Hazleton above .500 for the first time since the 2012 season, as the Nittany Lions continue to build momentum from their playoff season a year ago.

NEXT UP: The Nittany Lions host Penn State York on Saturday, September 12 at 2:00 p.m. Hazleton looks to avenge last years loss and remain unbeaten in the PSUAC.