WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State got a pair of goals from Ryan Della Penna (Suffield HS/Enfield, Conn.) as the Owls used a big second half to blank Fisher College, 3-0 in the Owls' men's soccer season opener at Alumni Field.
After a relatively mundane opening half, where significant scoring chances were few and far between, Westfield (1-0) got on the score board first when senior Nate Weaver (Haddon Heights NJ HS/Westfield, Mass.) headed home a cross from Ryan Morais (Uxbridge, Mass.) off of a short corner which was initiated by Paul Soucy (Old Colony/Acushnet, Mass.) in the 61st minute.
Westfield picked up the tempo as the second half wore on, adding Della Penna's first in the 81st minute, as he gathered Kevin Molina's (Lynn Classical/Lynn, Mass.) shot which had deflected off a Falcons' defender to the left side of the box, and Della Penna lofted it far post with the left foot for a 2-0 Owls lead.
Just two minutes later, Della Penna struck again, this time spinning past a defender just inside the top of the box and firing a shot for the 3-0 Owls' lead.
Della Penna, a senior transfer made a big impact in his first appearance for the Owls. The Enfield, Conn., native spent time in the Air Force and junior college before attending Westfield, but played on two state championship teams at Suffield High School.
Westfield finished with an 11-5 advantage in corner kicks, and a 16-8 margin in total shots.
Tyler Diotalevi (Ludlow, Mass.) made three saves in goal to earn the shutout for Westfield, while Christopher Garcia ( Rowland Heights, Ca) stopped four shots for the Falcons (2-1). The game was played infront of a a tremendous "Westfield State Opening Day" crowd of 1,130, with many new students and fall athletic teams in attendance as part of a special "Kick It Up" event that doubled as a pep rally for the Westfield State fall sports programs at halftime.
Westfield State will be back in action on Saturday at Springfield College.