MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Freshman Brendan Valverde collected the hat trick on three scores to lead the visiting Penn St. – Berks men's soccer team to a 4-1 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) victory over host Morrisville State College Saturday afternoon in Morrisville.
The loss for the Mustangs (3-7-0, 2-2-0 NEAC) is the first to the Nittany Lions dating back to the 2011 season when they dropped the 2-1 conference decision on Oct. 9.
Valverde set the tone for the contest a mere six minutes in, netting his 13th of the season on the one-touch after Jon Mercier sent the through ball past the defense for the score at the 5:54 mark.
Valverde added to the Nittany Lion total in the 20th minute, netting the unassisted tally as he flicked the ball towards the goal, finding Morrisville State goalkeeper Nick DeVito (Averill Park, N.Y.) out of position, giving the visitors the 2-0 lead.
Morrisville State came out of the gates quick in the second half, cutting the deficit to one a mere 43 seconds in to the period, as Stephen Oduro (Kumasi, Ghana) tapped home the loose ball after Kossi Philippe Nodjo (New York City, N.Y.) dribbled through the defense.
The Mustangs had an opportunity to even the contest at two moments later as Jose Figueroa (Boston, Mass.) rifled the shot from about 35-yards out off the cross bar and it bounced around at the mouth of the goal, but the Nittany Lion defense cleared it out, preventing the score.
That momentum was short lived, however, as Valverde collected this third on the day, again off an assist from Mercier, this time on the chip that made its way just under the cross bar in the 59th minute.
Manny Zavala secured the win with the fourth and final tally for Berks, netting the loose ball from about 15 yards out at the 85:46 mark.
DeVito recorded the loss in net, saving four.
Gerardo Sosa recorded the win for the Nittany Lions, playing the first 45, before being replaced by Trent Johnson in the second half, Johnson posted four saves.
Morrisville State returns to the field tomorrow, hosting Bryn Athyn College at noon on Drake Field.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.