Johnson City, Ny. - The Nittany Lion Men's Soccer squad opened the season on the road against Davis College on Thursday afternoon and unleashed a barrage of scoring to route the Falcons on their home turf by the score of 11-2. Senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) and junior Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) dominated the offensive side of the field in the first half. Both players netted early hat-tricks with Venditti assisting on all three of the Pasukinus goals as the Lions took a convincing 8-1 advantage into the second period. Freshman Moussa Diouf knocked in three consecutive scores including a late first half score to tally his first career hat-trick as Hazleton sealed up the victory on opening day.
Coach Shadle stated after the game, "We played with a passion and demeanor today that I haven't seen in a long time from a Penn State Hazleton soccer club. Every single player contributed today and when you have three guys scoring a hat-trick, it certainly makes my job as coach an easy one."
Venditti went to work early and often in the first half, netting his first goal in the sixth minute on a low left corner bullet delivered by freshman Jason Klusewitz. Venditti then shared the wealth, assisting on two goals by Pasukinis from the left side of goal, putting Hazleton on top 3-0 by the 18 minute mark, before beating three defenders in the box to notch his second score of the afternoon. Leading 4-0, 31 minutes into the contest, the senior and former All-American chipped a cross from the right side of the field, once again finding Pasukinis who found the net to earn the hat-trick. After the Falcons Matt Bartlett knocked in a Davis score, Pasukinis returned the favor to Venditti, striking a corner to Venditti who's header found the back of the net to put Hazleton back on top 6-1. Goals from freshmen Sohail Ahmedshaker and Moussa Diouf capped an outstanding half that all but sealed up the game for the Nittany Lions.
Diouf carried his late first half momentum into the final period, providing the Lions with two scores in nearly one minutes time to start the second half, first on ball provided by Venditti, then beating defenders for an unassisted score. An own goal from Davis boosted the score to 11-1 before the Falcons' Sella Light made it 11-2 with a tally at the 77 minute mark.
After an impressive performance to kick off the 2016 season and a 10 point outing for Venditti, Hazleton will return home to welcome SUNY Delhi on Saturday, September 3 at Community Park in Hazleton. Hazleton knocked off Delhi last season in upstate New York with a 1-0 victory.