Hazleton, Pa. - Playing through a cold and piercing rain at Harman Geist Memorial Field in downtown Hazleton, the Lady Lions persevered to capture the first post-season victory in the programs' three year history. Despite the poor playing conditions, freshman Emma Wyllie delivered a season-best performance as Hazleton edged Penn State Beaver by the score of 5-0, punching their ticket to the conference championship game. Wyllie played a role in four of Hazleton's five scores on the afternoon, notching her first career hat trick and the game winning score.
Hazleton was dominant on the offensive side but top notch defensive play kept Beaver from building any momentum. Nearly every opportunity for the visitors was broken up by the defensive unit, helping sophomore keeper Devon Keiper (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) to keep a clean sheet and limiting Beaver to just two shots on the afternoon.
Hazleton would convert those stops into four first half scores allowing the Lady Lions to milk the clock and secure the win. Wyllie gave Hazleton the lead just five minutes into the game, snagging a pass sent by senior Katie Oldziejewski (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) away from the Beaver goaltender and tucking it in neatly for the game's first score. Over 23 minutes of scoreless soccer would ensue but in the 29 minute, Wyllie would strike again, heading in a long crossing pass by sophomore Camille Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) and extending the lead to 2-0. From that point on, the Lady Lions dominated for a 10 minute span to go up 4-0. Oldziejewski sent in a score on a through ball by junior Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) and junior Kasey Jackson (Sinking Spring, Pa.) cashed in a 25 yard shot on a ball played backwards by Wyllie, capping a stellar first half by Hazleton.
Fortunately for the Lady Lions, that four goal cushion would not come into play as the Hazleton defense continued to limit Beaver's attempts in the zone. In the 56th minute of play, Hazleton would put the game away for good with an insurance goal from Wyllie. The freshman took advantage of a hard shot off the Beaver keeper struck by senior Lauren Degler (Oley Valley, Pa.), putting away the uncontested rebound for the game's final tally.
Next up: The Lady Lions earn a rematch with the only conference opponent to best the squad in 2018, but this one will be for the Penn State University Athletic Conference Championship. Hazleton will take on the defending champions in Penn State Brandywine next Wednesday, October 31 at the west turf fields in State College, Pa.