Lions fall to Broncos in home opener 3-2

Lions fall to Broncos in home opener 3-2

Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions had minor let down on Saturday afternoon following the 11-2 road victory on Thursday. Facing an eager SUNY Delhi squad who were blanked a year ago by Hazleton on their home turf, the Broncos forced the issue early in today's ballgame, coming up with two first half scores to leave the Lions chasing at halftime. Hazleton responded with positive momentum in the second half, knotting the score midway through the final period, but a late Bronco goal from Aiden Dittman proved to be the difference maker, issuing Hazleton their first loss of the season by the final score of 3-2.

First Half

Hazleton found themselves on the defensive side early in the game, unable to push the ball forward into SUNY territory. With SUNY controlling the early tempo, a mundane out of bounds play turned to scoring opportunity for the Broncos. A long throw in from the left side of the field by Delhi's Griffin Metzko took a high hop in front of the Hazleton net, grazing the Lion's keeper and finding the right corner of the goal to give Delhi the early 1-0 advantage. As the half drew to a close, Delhi advanced once again and Joffre Portilla found a willing teammate in front of the net, knocking it left side for the conventional score and 2-0 halftime lead.

Second Half

Hazleton answered the call in the second half, forcing the issue after just two first half shot attempts. Driving into opponents territory, senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) found freshman Jason Klusewitz (Mountain Top, Pa.) on the right side of the box who promptly chipped in the Lions' first score of the afternoon, giving the Lions hope with 30 minutes remaining the game. Six minutes later, Venditti drove through defenders once more, this time benefitting from a Bronco foul in the box. Venditti took the ensuing penalty kick and like so many times before, converted the attempt to knot the score at 2-2 with 24 minutes to play. Hazleton continued to pressure the Delhi defense, but with just six minutes to play, a Lion's defensive miscue gave the Broncos a breakaway chance on the Hazleton goalkeeper. Aiden Dittman penetrated the box and drove the ball to the left corner, nabbing the late lead and securing the road victory for SUNY Delhi.

Top Performers

The Broncos were led by Metzko and Dittman who combined for five of the squads 18 shots on goal this afternoon, each netting one score a piece. 

Venditti's led Hazleton with three points coming in the second half coming on his penalty kick and assist while Klusewitz notches his first goal in a Nittany Lion uniform. Freshman goalkeeper Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) faced a flurry of attempts, stopping 13 shots on goal in the loss.

Next up

Hazleton earns three days off after Saturday's defeat before hitting the pitch once again at Community Park. The Lions welcome Berkeley College of Nj. back to Hazleton on Tuesday, September 6 after a thrilling double overtime victory last season versus the Knights. Kick off scheduled for 4:00 p.m.