Venditti leads Hazleton in bounce back 5-0 win over Wilkes-Barre

Joe Torres gives chase.
Joe Torres gives chase.

HAZLETON, Pa. - Junior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) had his hand in four goals as Penn State Hazleton routed Penn State Wilkes-Barre, 5-0, in a match-up of the top two PSUAC teams on Wednesday night at High Acres Soccer Field. Hazleton (5-2, 4-1 PSUAC) bounced back nicely after their loss Sunday to Beaver to put the first loss on Wilkes-Barre's conference record.

Venditti put a short cross right to freshman Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) just four minutes in as the Lions took an early 1-0 lead. The rest of the first half was a defensive struggle as both teams struggled to put shots on goal. 

Hazleton's defense was stronger throughout as the back line helped sophomore goalie James Fisher (Glen Allen, Va.) pitch his third shutout of the season. He needed to make only four saves, although his best came in the second half to preserve a 2-0 lead. Fisher beat a Wilkes-Barre forward to a free ball in the penalty area and denied the chance of a good shot.

The Nittany Lions opened up the scoring during a 12-minute stretch in the second half as Venditti found a streaking teammate in sophomore Steven Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.). Principe beat two defenders to the ball, then pushed it past the keeper for a 2-0 lead in the 56th minute. Sophomore Joseph Torres made it 3-0 just five minutes later, using some fancy footwork to sidestep his defenders and beat the goalie to the far corner.

Another five minutes went by before Venditti found the back of the net himself. He would go on to seal the win with his second goal, and sixth point of the game, in the 85th minute. 

Wilkes-Barre (2-2-1, 2-1-1 PSUAC) only managed four of their 11 shots on goal, and got only four total shots in the second half as Hazleton remained the aggressor. The Lions took 19 shots, including 11 in the second half as they pulled away. Wilkes-Barre goalie Michael Hartman made 11 saves, including two in the second half that appeared to be automatic goals, but Hazleton continued to find holes in the Lions' defense.

NEXT UP: With the win Hazleton matches their win total from 2014 only seven games into the season. The Nittany Lions will host Penn State New Kensington on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at High Acres Soccer Field as Hazleton looks to avenge their playoff loss from a year ago.