EMMITSBURG, Md. – Zoncher Dennis (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) set a new Mount St. Mary's Division I record by scoring four goals in a game to lift Mount St. Mary's past La Salle 5-0 in non-conference men's soccer action on Saturday.
Dennis scored three times in the first half in the 12th, 17th and 36th minutes to become the eighth player to notch a hat trick in the Mountaineers' Division I era and the first since Chris Wheeler (Newcastle, Australia/St. Francis Xavier) found the twine three times against Robert Morris on Oct. 10, 2008.
The freshman then became the first player in the program's Division I history to post four goals in a game with his sixth goal of the season in the 51st minute. Dennis also tied John Tallarido's all-time single-game mark on the afternoon. Tallarido registered four goals against Washington Bible on Sept. 12, 1980 and also accomplished the feat against Millersville on Sept. 16, 1981.
Matthew Steele (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) notched his first collegiate goal for the Mount (3-3-1) while Wheeler, Jimmy Ockford (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury), Kyle Patrick (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) and Ian Hendrie (Potomac, Md./St. Andrews Episcopal School) each recorded an assist on the afternoon. Peter Steve (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) made two saves and earned his second-straight shutout.
John McCarthy made two saves for the Explorers (1-6-1) in the loss.
Thanks to one of the best days by a player in Mount St. Mary's men's soccer history, the Mount posted five goals to down La Salle in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The five goals were the most scored by a Mountaineer team since defeating the Colonials 6-0 on Oct. 10, 2008.
Dennis got the scoring started when he got the ball off a Wheeler flick and then beat the goalkeeper to the left post into the netting at the 11:44 mark for a 1-0 edge.
Ockford the intercepted an Explorer pass and punched the ball ahead to Dennis, who then raced past a defender and beat the goalkeeper at 16:24 to increase the margin to 2-0. The freshman then intercepted a ball from a La Salle player in front of its bench and raced down the field to once again beat the goalkeeper at 35:51 to complete the hat trick and hand the Mount a three-goal advantage.
In the second half, Patrick dribbled the ball to the center of the box and found an open Dennis in front of the netting at 50:43 to set a new Mount Division I mark and tie Tallarido's all-time mark with his fourth goal of the afternoon.
Hendrie then sealed the victory when he served a long ball ahead to Steele, who then beat the goalkeeper at 73:29 for his first collegiate goal and to give the Mountaineers a 5-0 lead.
Dennis, who had a goal in the squad's 2-0 win against Howard on Monday, leads the team with six goals and one assist for 13 points this season.
Mount St. Mary's returns to action on Friday when it opens Northeast Conference play at home against Central Connecticut State. Game time is 4:30 p.m.