First-half hat trick leads Penn St.-Harrisburg past Gallaudet in conference opener
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three consecutive first-half goals by Penn St.-Harrisburg's Justin Henderson overwhelmed the Gallaudet University men's soccer team as it opened up North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play with a 6-0 loss Saturday afternoon at Hotchkiss Field. The Bison (2-3) have now fallen below .500 for the first time this season, after winning their first two games.
Henderson wasted no time completing his hat trick as he cleaned up a rebound in the 23rd minute on a shot by junior defender Tommy Miller. Gallaudet sophomore goalkeeper Eric Setzer (Middletown, Md.) initially turned away the scoring opportunity but the ball bounced in Henderson's direction and he quickly tapped the loose ball into a wide-open net. Henderson's first goal got the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard early as he took a cross from senior forward Alex Belanger in the game's second minute and deposited into the back of net. The junior forward shielded a Bison defender and corralled the ball with just enough time to put it past Setzer (16 saves). The middle tally of Henderson's three-goal performance came in the 20th minute as he finessed his way past several Bison defenders and into the goalie box before burying the shot from less than 10 yards out.
Setzer was bombarded by Nittany Lion scoring chances throughout the match. Penn St.-Harrisburg finished the match with 38 shots, only gave up three to the Bison. Charles Hyson, the senior goalkeeper for Penn St.-Harrisburg, only needed to make one save on a shot by Bison midfielder Gabriel Carino (Bronx, N.Y.) to preserve the shutout and improve the team's record to 2-3.
The relentless pressure by the Nittany Lions was not isolated to the three-goal first half as the squad continued to frustrate Gallaudet. Sophomore forwards Matthew Hyson and Jon Willingham both picked up their first goals of the season in the 52nd and 65th minute, respectively. Henderson capped off his impressive performance with an assist on Penn-St. Harrisburg's sixth goal by freshman Claudius Taylor.
Gallaudet has not beaten Penn St.-Harrisburg since they began playing regularly in 2008. Last season they fell to the Nittany Lions in Pennsylvania by the same margin.
Gallaudet looks to return to its winning ways on the road against non-conference foe Washington Adventist University at Pioneer Field in Tacoma Park, Md., on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m.