Junior forward Mark Forrest heads the ball against Holy Cross defender at the Ulrich Sports Complex on November 7, 2017 in the Patriot League Quarterfinal. Forrest was awarded the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. (Maddy Hite/B&W Staff)

Forrest assumes spotlight for Lehigh men’s soccer following postseason exit

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Mark Forrest is no stranger to success on the soccer field.

Since his freshman year, the forward has led the Mountain Hawks in goals each season.

Now a junior, Forrest finished the season second in the country in points with 15 goals and eight assists in 18 games, earning himself the title of Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year.

“It’s good to see a full season’s work come to fruition in the end with an award,” Forrest said. “But it goes without saying it’s not possible without the supporting cast around me — Doyle Tuvesson, Alex Greene — they made some big plays, stepped up big time and they really alleviate the pressure sometimes for me.”

Along with his Offensive Player of the Year award, Forrest was awarded first-team All-Patriot League honors. Greene and Tuvesson were also chosen for first-team honors.

Although he garnered the top offensive award in the conference, Forrest still shared the spotlight with Tuvesson.  Forrest and Tuvesson formed a productive pair on the Mountain Hawks’ offensive end, collectively providing 20 goals and 18 assists for Lehigh.

But with Tuvesson graduating in the spring, Forrest will be left on his own to assume the role as the team’s offensive leader in his final season at Lehigh.

“It’s obviously going to be tough without Doyle, he does so much work for us,” Forrest said. “I’m definitely going to need to step up next year and fill those shoes that he’s leaving.”

Tuvesson expressed no concern with Forrest fulfilling a senior leadership position next season because he already saw Forrest as a team leader this year.

“Everyone on the team respects Mark, and I expect next year he’s going to be an even bigger leader,” Tuvesson said. “The guys follow him and respect him, so he’s going to have a great leadership position next year.”

Lehigh men’s soccer coach Dean Koski said now the team’s “unanswered question” is who will fulfill Tuvesson’s role as Forrest’s complement. He said he sees potential in current team members and incoming freshmen to step into that position.

The team’s season ended with a 3-0 loss to Holy Cross in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament. Forrest said the team fell into a rut at the end of the season, finishing with two shutout losses, the other being a 1-0 loss to Holy Cross at the end of the regular season.   

In the future, Forrest sees this as an opportunity for him to “step up and score some goals when it counts.”

This season, Forrest said he focused on improving his shooting. Koski said two of Forrest’s main contributions on the field were his improved efficiency and his technically sound shooting skills that help him find the back of the net.

“There’s no surprise that he’s scored the amount of goals he’s had,” Koski said. “I’m sure he’s certainly on his way to at least competing for a Patriot League record for scoring by the end of his career.”

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