UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 1 Penn State Brandywine left no doubt about which team was the best in Penn State University Athletic Conference women's soccer in 2018 as the Lions' offense delivered seven goals in a 7-2 championship triumph over No. 2 Penn State Hazleton on Wednesday night, winning the league title for the third-straight year.
The Lions, who scored seven goals for the fourth time in eight matches against PSUAC competition this season, now own three conference championships in only four seasons as a varsity program. Each of Brandywine's championship seasons have capped perfect campaigns against the PSUAC. The Lions have not lost to a conference opponent since September 2015.
Three players produced multi-goal efforts, including Brianna Banks (Philadelphia, Pa./Parkway Center), who earned her third PSUAC Player of the Year award in as many seasons earlier this week. Banks netted three goals for her fifth hat trick of the season, while Emily Jefferson (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII Regional) and Averie Florschutz (Chadds Ford, Pa./Kennett) both tallied two scores.
Brandywine quickly established a two-goal lead, using tallies from Banks and Florschutz to go in front 2-0 after 20 minutes.
The score remained the same through halftime, but Brandywine upped its lead just 59 seconds into the second half as Banks slipped the wet ball through Hazleton goalkeeper Devon Keiper's hands and across the line.
Hazleton got one goal back in the 51st minute, but Brandywine did not take long to counter, netting a fourth score, this one off the foot of Florschutz at the 56:35 mark.
Jefferson helped seal the victory by scoring on a penalty kick after being hauled down in the box at 58:38 and then completing the scoring eight minutes later.
Brandywine received seven saves from goalkeeper Emily Bush (Bayville, N.J./Central Regional), including five during the second half. The Lions nearly doubled Hazleton in shots, holding a 23-12 advantage.
Brandywine (11-4) will now set its sights on the USCAA Tournament after receiving the conference's automatic bid to the national championship. The Lions, seeded sixth, will play Albany College of Pharmacy on Nov. 9 and NHTI on Nov. 11 in pool play.