Men's Soccer falls to Penn State Brandywine, 4-1, in conference finale

Penn State Hazleton's Michael Principe battles for position as he beats his opponent to the ball.
Penn State Hazleton's Michael Principe battles for position as he beats his opponent to the ball.

HAZLETON, Pa. -- Penn State Hazleton suffered only their second loss in their last eight games, falling 4-1 to conference frontrunner Penn State Brandywine in a Penn State University Athletic Conference soccer match Friday night. The loss also means Hazleton must wait for the rest of the PSUAC season to play out to determine their playoff fate.

The Nittany Lions (5-6-1, 3-5-1 PSUAC) held Brandywine scoreless for the first 40 minutes until Bill Walleekendeh found the net twice in the final five minutes of the first half to give the Lions a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Joseph Torres (Garden City, NJ) drew Hazleton closer with a goal in the 61st minute, taking a Diego Mendoza (Elizabeth, NJ) pass and beating the keeper far side. But Walleekendeh wasn't done, securing his hat trick in the 71st minute to return Brandywine's two goal advantage. Brandywine added another goal in the waning minutes to take the 4-1 win.

Brandywine (7-7, 6-0 PSUAC) outshot the Nittany Lions 19-10 on the night, and had an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks. Logan Yacowatz (Sugarloaf, Pa.) made 10 saves for Hazleton.

Hazleton now awaits their fate, sitting in sole possession of sixth place in the PSUAC. The top six teams advance to the single elimination conference tournament beginning October 22. Penn State Mont Alto and Penn State Wilkes-Barre each have three conference games remaining, and could jump the Nittany Lions with multiple wins. However, a loss by Wilkes-Barre in any of their three remaining games would eliminate them as Hazleton holds the tiebreaker with the head-to-head victory. Mont Alto, who holds the tiebreaker over Hazleton, can advance by winning two of their final three games or finishing 1-1-1 over that stretch.

Hazleton returns to action on Monday, October 13 for a non-conference game with NCAA Division III opponent Penn State Berks. Kick-off is set for 6:00 p.m. on Hazleton Field.