Clarks Summit, Pa. - The Nittany Lions battled to a stalemate for 90 minutes at Clarks Summit University on Friday afternoon in their first action of the season. Sophomore forward Moussa Diouf (Carteret, Nj.) gave the Nittany Lions an early lead and later notched a tying goal to send the game to overtime, but a deflected pass in the overtime period turned into a game-winning goal for the Defenders who issued Hazleton the 3-2, overtime defeat.
Hazleton was forced to play in their own end of the field nearly all afternoon. The Lions were out-shot 11-4 and faced 11 corner kick attempts from Clarks Summit, but excelled defensively to limit quality looks by the Defenders. After leaving due to injury in the first minute of action, sophomore keeper Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) bounced back to net 6 saves on the afternoon. After surrendering their 1-0 lead at the 16:42 mark, Hazleton held the Clarks Summit attack scoreless for the next 58 minutes until Jan Rodriguez best the Lion's back row to notch the go ahead score. Just when it looked as though the game was at it's end, the Lions had one more trick up the sleeve. It took 84 minutes for the Nittany Lions to earn their first corner kick of the afternoon, but they did not waste the opportunity. Hazleton's first kick resulted in a ball over the end line, giving sophomore Trent Dempsey (Weatherly, Pa.) and second attempt. Dempsey made good on a long ball over the defensive line of Clarks Summit and after a deflection, found the foot of Moussa Diouf who tucked the ball neatly in the right side of the goal for the tying score with just under five and a half minutes remaining to send the game into overtime.
Hazleton carried that momentum into the first overtime period, controlling the tempo early on leading to their third corner kick attempt. But unlike before, the Lions couldn't capitalize on the quality chance. Clarks Summit would take the ensuing possession down to the opposite end, earning a corner kick opportunity of their own. Hazleton would fend off the attempt but fail to clear the ball out of their end. Victor Obetta would go on the attack for Clarks Summit, crossing the ball into a crowd. Ian Self collected the deflected pass to notch the game winning goal into a wide open net and secure the overtime victory for the Defenders.
The Nittany Lions first action of the season results in defeat but take a lot of positives to build on going into their next contest. Hazleton will continue their early season non-conference schedule on Sunday when the squad travels to United States Collegiate Athletic Association opponent, SUNY Delhi.