Led by junior forward Mark Forrest, the Lehigh men’s soccer team (3-2) will attempt to extend its win streak to three games when the Mountain Hawks square off against Seton Hall University (3-4-1) Tuesday at Ulrich Sports Complex.
Forrest has been the driving force behind the Mountain Hawks’ performance as of late. He scored five of the eight goals Lehigh has registered this year and assisted on two others. Forrest’s 12 points and five goals rank first among all Patriot League players while his two assists place him seventh among the conference leaders.
After a 3-2 start this season, Forrest is optimistic the team will improve from its disappointing 7-10-1 record last season.
“We have a more talented team this time around, and now we just need to piece it together,” Forrest said.
Senior forward and captain Doyle Tuvesson, who is tied as the Patriot League leader with four assists, expressed similar optimism regarding this year’s team.
“We have a lot of experience on this team as well as young talent,” Tuvesson said. “So we have a good mix of players and once we click, we will have a strong group.”
He said this year’s group has a better mentality than last year’s team, which was not willing to “grind” for wins.
Lehigh’s upcoming matchup against the Pirates is the last before league play kicks off with Army West Point on Saturday. Forrest emphasized the impact these next few games will have on the team’s record this season.
“I think we are off to a decent start,” Forrest said, “but I think these next two weeks are extremely important for us in deciding whether or not we are going to be palling for a championship in November or not.”
The Mountain Hawks are gaining momentum, improving their record of 1-2 to start the season with a two-game win streak. The team’s streak started with a 2-1 win against Ivy league opponent Cornell University on the road Sept. 8. The Mountain Hawks overcame a first-half goal by Cornell forward Harry Fuller with two second-half goals by Forrest in the 55th and 66th minutes to secure the victory.
The ball continued to roll for the Mountain Hawks Thursday when the team faced UPenn. Lehigh played a shutout game on Penn’s home turf, winning 3-0. The first goal came in the opening half by senior forward Jack Miskel, who was assisted by Tuvesson, and the game concluded after two more unanswered goals.
Though it seems the Mountain Hawks may have caught fire at the right time — outscoring opponents 4-1 in the last 180 minutes of play — the Pirates will also be looking to prove themselves. The Pirates are coming off of wins against Patriot League foe Bucknell and Ivy League opponents Princeton and Penn earlier this season.
This will be the last matchup for each team to work out its kinks and get a win before both advance into league play.
Forrest’s performance will play an instrumental part in whether or not the Mountain Hawks will come out on top. Tuvesson remains optimistic that Forrest will maintain his level of play, leading the team to victory.
“I have no doubt he will keep scoring goals and continue to be a major part of any success we have,” Tuvesson said. “His confidence helps bring the rest of the team’s level up.”