Photo gallery (courtesy of Emma Black)
Photo gallery (courtesy of Dan Ceccacci)
Senior midfielder Rich Loeffler (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers) led a second-half charge with a goal and an assist as The University of Scranton men's soccer team scored three times after the break to roll past Penn State-Altoona, 4-0, in the season opener for both teams on Friday evening at Fitzpatrick Field.
The Royals (1-0) also received goals from senior forward Kevin Kozic (Raritan, N.J./Immaculata), sophomore midfielder Tim DiBisceglie (Mine Hill, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's) and freshman forward Justin Durcan (Chester, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's). Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Hintz (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) made four saves in the opening 78 minutes in the victory.
Kozic put the Royals on the board early when he converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute after a teammate was pulled down by a Penn State-Altoona defender in the box. The goal was the 15th of Kozic's career. Scranton outshot the Lions (0-1), 9-5, in the opening half, but settled for a 1-0 lead at the half.
DiBesciglie extended the lead a little more than eight minutes into the second half when he took a corner kick from Loeffler and snuck it off the post and in for his first career goal. Twenty minutes later, Loeffler scored a nifty goal when he took a through ball from freshman forward A.J. Nardone (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) and calmly controlled the ball in front of the goal until the goalkeeper guessed low and Loeffler flipped the ball into the top of the net for his eighth career tally.
Durcan finished the scoring in the 82nd minute when he took a free kick from sophomore midfielder Michael Newell (Worcester, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) and flicked a header into the right corner for his first career goal.
Scranton finished with a 22-6 advantage in shots and 9-3 in corner kicks.
The win improves Scranton to 8-0-2 in season openers over the past 10 seasons, and 10-4-2 all-time under head coach Matt Pivirotto, who earned his 120th career victory.
The Royals are back in action on Saturday when they host Neumann at 2 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field.