Aston, Pa. - The Lady Lions (2-4) battled monsoon conditions on Thursday evening at the Maple Zone Sports Village and one of the Penn State University Athletic Conference's top teams in Penn State Brandywine (6-1) . Brandywine dominated possession in the contest, but the Lady Lions' counterattack proved effective, keeping within striking distance of the home team throughout the contest. Unfortunately for the Lions, that strategy led to a 20-10 shot advantage for the home team which Brandywine used to open up a two goal edge at halftime. Hazleton cut the lead to just one in the final ten minutes of play, but Brandywine tacked on an insurance goal to issue Hazleton the 4-2 loss.
Hazleton was content to pack in defensively in an effort to limit opportunities for the Brandywine offense, but in the eighth minute, Brandywine's Brooke Muhlbaier broke free for shot attempt that beat the Hazleton keeper in the low left corner of the goal for the game's first tally. Hazleton rallied 18 minutes later when sophomore Katie Oldziejewskie (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) hit a long cross from the right side of the field finding sophomore Ariel Rowlands (Dorrance, Pa.) on the opposite side of the field. Rowlands sent the ball back towards the box, hooking a fine shot into the top upper 90 that tied the game at one a piece.
The Lions continued their defensive strategy but minutes later Brandywine would retake and extend their lead. Brandywine earned a corner kick in the 30th minute leading to a shot on goal by Brianna Banks. Banks' ricocheted off the crossbar to Mia Ianello who cleaned up a rebound to give the home team a 2-1 lead. Just over five minutes later Banks would again fire off one of her team high nine shot attempts, this time finding the back of the net as Brandywine expanded their advantage to 3-1 at the midway point.
Facing a two goal deficit, Hazleton was forced on the attack and successfully maintained their possessions in the final frame. Both teams battled to a stalemate for over 35 minutes in the final period, until a lead pass from Hazleton freshman Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) broke Oldziejewskie free in the Brandywine zone. Oldziejewskie touched the ball passed a sliding Brandywine keeper, then chased down the ball on the slick turf before it bound out of play, tucking it into the wide open net to cut the lead to 3-2.
Now within striking distance, the Lions continued to press, but that left the door open for Brandywine's Brianna Banks. The forward found space again in the 84th minute, ripping another high shot at the goal. Hazleton sophomore Julianne Ernest (Danville, Pa.) did all she could to get a hand on the ball, but the velocity and wet conditions proved too much as Banks knocked in the insurance score leading to the final result of 4-2 in favor of Brandywine.
Banks tallied three shots on goal and two scores to lead the Brandywine offensive effort. Ianello and Muhlbaier each added scores as Brandywine out-shot Hazleton 20-10 in the winning effort. Brandywine keeper Emily Bush saved three of five shots on goal to earn the win.
Hazleton was led by Oldziejewskie and Rowlands who each scored on their only shot attempts. Keeper Julianne Ernest made six saves in the rain soaked affair, facing 10 shots on target.
The Lady Lions head back to the pitch on Sunday, October 9th when Berkeley College of New York visits Hazleton for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.