HAZLETON, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton men's soccer cruised to a 7-0 win over visiting Penn State Wilkes-Barre in a Penn State University Athletic Conference game on Wednesday night. In wet conditions at Community Park, Hazleton (5-4, 4-1 PSUAC) strolled out to an early lead behind two goals from sophomore Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) in the first 28 minutes of action.
The Lions would tack on two more goals before the half and put an exclamation point on the game with three second half goals to topple their conference rival. Hazleton took advantage of Wilkes-Barre's weaknesses, capitalizing on a porous defense that allowed the Nittany Lions to put up 17 shots in each half, including 19 on goal. Meanwhile, Hazleton allowed only four shots total as freshman keeper Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) enjoyed an easy day in goal.
A quiet start to the game quickly erupted into a scoring spree for Hazleton. Pasukinis opened up the 1-0 advantage off a corner from freshman Jason Klusewitz (Mountain Top, Pa.). The low corner was dummied by sophomore defenseman Tyler Wyllie (Benton, Pa.) and Pasukinis found the lower right corner of the net during the 12th minute. Nearly 16 minutes later Pasukinis was again the recipient of a great pass as freshman Isaac Whitenight (Benton, Pa.) pushed a long through-ball by the Wilkes-Barre defense. Pasukinis raced to the ball and beat the keeper again, this time to the left corner of the goal as the rain pounded down on the field.
Not to be outdone, freshman Moussa Diouf (Carteret, NJ) matched Pasukinis with two goals of his own on nearly identical shots. His first goal came off a pass from junior Steven Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) as he received the ball on the right side of the net and beat the keeper low and left in the 37th minute. Just under five minutes later Diouf would score again from nearly the same spot on the field, this time unassisted, as the keeper got a hand on it but couldn't deflect it away from the net as Hazleton grabbed a 4-0 lead.
The rain let up as the second half began, but the Hazleton lead grew quickly. Pasukinis added his third goal in the 48th minute, giving him his second hat trick of the season as he chipped the ball over the outstretched arms of the keeper from about 12 yards out. Twenty minutes later senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) gave Hazleton a 6-0 advantage as Principe added his second assist of the game on the play as he lofted the ball over a defender to Venditti making a run up the middle of the field. Just over a minute later freshman Sohail Ahmedshaker (Brooklyn, NY) hit paydirt off a pass from Wyllie to finish out Hazleton's scoring. Ahmedshaker took a pass in the corner and dribbled up the endline before hooking the ball into the upper right 90 of the net.
Pasukinis recorded his second hat trick after recording one in the first game of the season at Davis College. His 11 goals are second on the team to Venditti. Diouf earned his second career multi-goal game and is third on the team with seven goals on the season.
Principe recorded his third and fourth assists on the season, third best on the team. Yocum had to make only one save and his shutout was preserved as Wilkes-Barre's only real chance to score came on a penalty kick late in the second half. But the shot hit the left post and was eventually cleared by Hazleton.
Michael Barney had 12 saves for Wilkes-Barre.
Hazleton returns to the pitch on Saturday, October 1st when they head to Penn State Schuylkill in another PSUAC showdown. Match kicks off at 1:00 p.m. as Hazleton looks to keep pace with Penn State Beaver and Brandywine in the conference standings.