Mont Alto, Pa. - Senior Katie Oldziejewski (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) recorded her third hat trick of the season on Saturday afternoon, propelling the Lady Lions past Mont Alto for a road victory in the Penn State University Athletic Conference semifinals. Oldziekewski scored a pair of game-tying goals and the go ahead score during a wild second half as Hazleton pulled out a 4-2 win and punching their ticket to a second consecutive PSUAC championship game appearance.
Neither squad would budge in the first half but after 45 minutes of scoreless action to start the game, urgency set in for each team to keep their season alive. Over an 11 minute stretch of action early in the second half, Mont Alto and Hazleton would go back and forth beginning with a header by Mont Alto's Maddie Shirley that broke the 0-0 tie. Six minutes would go by until Hazleton managed a response with senior Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) sending in a through ball, finding the foot of Oldziejewski for the equalizer.
Just over a minute later, Mont Alto was back on top. Shirley once again inflicting the damage on the Hazleton defense, slipped a ball through the 18 to connect with Tori Stouffer for a wide open score and a 2-1 advantage. But Hazleton's continued efforts on the offensive side were about to pay off. Sophomore Emma Wyllie (Benton, Pa.) went on the offensive shortly after the ensuing kick off, driving the ball deep into the Mont Alto back line. Wyllie dished a short cross back across the goal to Oldziejewski who flicked the ball past the keeper to erase Hazleton's second deficit of the half.
Following 13 minutes of scoreless play, Hazleton was back in the Mont Alto zone threatening to score. Fetterman found herself on the deck but with a gritty effort, maintained possession of the ball, got back to her feet and sent a cross from the left side of the field. Once again, Oldiziejewski timed her run well, finding the pass and tucking the ball in for go-ahead goal. Hazleton went on to kill nearly 16 minutes of clock and with less than a minute to play, shut the door with a late insurance goal. Fetterman sent a long through ball upfield to Wyllie who surged past the defense and flicked the ball over the diving Mont Alto keeper to lock up the Hazleton victory.
Next up: Hazleton is back in the finals with another crack at defending PSUAC champion Penn State Brandywine after a 3-2 overtime loss earlier this season. The Lions will look to earn their first title and punch their ticket to the USCAA National Tournament with a when the PSUAC season concludes on Wednesday, October 30 at 4:00 p.m. at the West Turf Fields in State College, Pa.