State College, Pa. - The Lady Lions' best season in program history came to a close Wednesday night with a runner-up finish to Penn State Brandywine in the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship game. Playing through bouts of rain at the West Turf Fields at University Park, Brandywine out-shot Hazleton by a substantial 23-12 margin and pulled away from the Lady Lions with a five goal spurt in the final period, capturing their third straight title by the score of 7-2.
Hazleton's endeavor to contain co-player of the year Brianna Banks came up short in this one. Banks released 14 shots on the night including the game's first score and an early second half tally that gave Brandywine a 3-0 cushion over Hazleton. The ensuing play gave the Lady Lions life as junior Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) played a through ball past the Brandywine defense. Making a run from the right side, freshman Emma Wyllie (Benton, Pa.) beat the Brandywine keeper to the 50/50 ball and tucked it away for Hazleton's first score.
Wyllie's tally gave the Lady Lions hope of a comeback but the next eight minutes would prove fateful as Brandywine responded with a flurry of scores. Averie Florschutz erased the Hazleton goal with her second score of the night followed by a third tally from Banks in the 57th minute. Emily Jefferson capped Brandywine's second 3-0 scoring run of the evening, knocking in a penalty kick after a Hazleton take-down in the 18 to put her squad up 6-1.
Fetterman would locate senior Katie Oldziejewski (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) up the middle of the field for a second Hazleton score in the 64th minute, but once again Brandywine had the answer. A second tally from Jefferson extended the lead back to five goals, locking up the title for Brandywine by the score of 7-2.
Post-game honors recognized seven Lady Lions with All-Conference awards including sophomore Devon Keiper (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) as goalkeeper of the year, Emma Wyllie as conference newcomer of the year and Breann Fetterman as the PSUAC's co-player of the year. In just the third season since the program's inception, Hazleton captured it's first playoff victory and PSUAC championship appearance, but their ultimate goal of championship will have to wait at least one more season.