Junior midfielder/defender Gianfranco Giammatteo evades Lafayette College senior midfielder Nate Arronson at a game against the Leopards on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2015. Lehigh defeated American University 2-1 to win the Patriot League Championship. (Dallas Basha/B&W Photo)

Lehigh men’s soccer beats rival Lafayette 2-0 at home

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Freshman striker Mark Forrest has been a huge boost for Lehigh men’s soccer, and after Thursday night, he leads the team in goals.

Lehigh upset rival Lafayette College, 2-0,Thursday at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The team’s solid defense and aggression on the field were key instruments in their performance.

“Our team has been focusing on staying in the green on the commitment continuum,” sophomore midfielder/defender Kevin Klinkenberg said before the match. “Lafayette is a tough, hard-working team that always gives us a challenge. We haven’t beat them since 2010, so this is a big game for us not only for the Patriot League standings, but to end our losing streak against them”

With the win, Lehigh (10-5-2, 4-3-1 Patriot) moves to fourth place in the Patriot League. The team is looking to increase its momentum looking to achieve a spot in the Patriot League Championship.

Forrest scored one goal in each half of the game. Aided by freshman midfielder Alex Greene, the Mountain Haws were able to score with 13 minutes left in the first half and with 23 minutes left in the second half.

“Tonight was about keeping our cool and playing our game,” senior midfielder Brian Vail said. “In recent years, our games against Lafayette have looked more like rugby matches than anything else so tonight we needed to limit our fouls and put our forwards in good positions to score. Mark Forrest made the Lafayette defenders jobs very difficult.”

The Lehigh offense kept the penalties down while the defense aided sophomore goalkeeper Joe Bogan. Bogan had five saves during the match against the relentless Lafayette offense. The second half of the game became intense with both teams securing opportunities at the goal. However, a yellow card by Lafayette allowed the Lehigh team a free-kick in center field.

Freshman Forrest took the kick and placed it through the Lafayette defense and into the right-hand side of the goal. This would be the final goal of the game.

Vail continued to comment on the team’s performance, saying how important the win was.

“Tonight was a huge win for us, not only because Lafayette is our rival, but it also puts us in a great position for a playoff spot,” Vail said. “Confidence and chemistry on the team is high right now so we need to carry this momentum to our next game against Bucknell.”

The Mountain Hawks will once again play on their home turf against Bucknell University at the Ulrich Sports Complex on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.

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