State College, Pa. - On Wednesday, the Penn State University Athletic Conference announced five members of the Penn State Hazleton Nittany Lions men's soccer squad were named to the all-conference team for 2016. Freshmen Moussa Diouf (Carteret, Nj.) and Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) along with sophomore Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) and senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) were named first team all-conference, while sophomore Tyler Wyllie (Benton, Pa.) was given honorable mention. In addition to the player awards, head coach Jesse Shadle was named coach of the year in his third season at the helm of Nittany Lion soccer.
#2 Kyle Venditti - The senior broke the squad's single season scoring record, tallying a total of 25 goals over the course of 18 games in 2016. Venditti's team high 13 assists ranked second in the conference giving the senior a total of 61 points for the year, also the second best total in the PSUAC. Venditti notched four hat-tricks in 2016, one of which came on the road against the eventual fifth seed in PSUAC, Penn State New Kensington. On September 18, Venditti struck for three goals and an assist, including the game winning score to help the Lions secure the 5-4 road victory on the team's western swing.
#10 Ben Pasukinis - The sophomore forward wreaked havoc on defenders all season to the tune of 23 goals and 11 assists, ranking Pasukinis as the third highest scorer in the PSUAC in goals and total points, and fifth respectively in the assist category. Pasukinis had a pair of hat-tricks in 2016 but perhaps his most impactful moment came in the teams semifinal playoff game at Penn State Beaver on October 31. The forward came off the bench after sitting out the quarterfinal round with an injury to spark a 3-0 run by the Nittany Lions as they faced a 2-0 deficit. Pasukinis went on to help secure the postseason victory with a score in the overtime penalty kick round, advancing Hazleton to the championship game in the PSUAC.
#6 Moussa Diouf - Diouf quickly established himself as a scoring threat, notching four goals against Davis College in his first outing as a collegiate athlete. Diouf would go on to total 13 goals and six assists from the right wing position, finishing the year as the team's third highest scorer earning the forward the Newcomer of the Year award by the PSUAC. Diouf came up big for the Nittany Lions in the post-season. on October 29 against Mont Alto, the freshman tallied two goals and an assist to help Hazleton to a 6-2 win, then helped lead the comeback against Penn State Beaver in the semifinals, assisting on Hazleton's first score of the game, then tying the game with a score in the second half.
#0 Brandon Yocum - The freshman goalkeeper broke onto the scene with a wire to wire run as the goalkeeper with the highest save percentage in the PSUAC at .764. Yocum allowed just 1.88 goals per game and touted four shut-outs on the season. The freshman made a remarkable four penalty kick saves during the regular season but upped the ante with his overtime performance in the PSUAC semifinal game. Yocum made three consecutive penalty kick stops following two scoreless overtime periods to secure the Lions spot in the PSUAC championship game.
#26 Tyler Wyllie - The field general of the Nittany Lion defense played a pivotal role in Hazleton's continued success in 2016. The sophomore helped guide Hazleton to five total shutouts on their way to an 11-6-1 record. Wyllie set the pace in the penalty kick round during the semifinal match against Penn State Beaver, knocking in Hazleton's first attempt to keep the pressure on their opponent. The sophomore finished the year with two goals and a pair of assists.
Head Coach Jesse Shadle - Shadle led the team to their third consecutive playoff berth and second straight year as the number three seed in the PSUAC. Shadle helped guide the squad to its first PSUAC championship appearance in six years and continues to build off the team's success, year in and year out. After three seasons at the helm, Shadle has compiled a career record of 27-22-2.