Lehigh men's soccer sophomore forward Josh Luchini poses on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 at Williams Hall. Luchini was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week in early September. (Hannah Patrick/B&W Staff)

Men’s soccer carries ‘team first’ mentality through season

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After capturing one win out of two games against two Big 10 opponents, Northwestern and Wisconsin, respectively, the Lehigh men’s soccer team added three more wins to its record.

After the Mountain Hawks’ loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 8, the team returned home the following weekend to play the Seton Hall Pirates on Sept. 14. Historically, Lehigh and Seton Hall maintain a 1-1 record. Lehigh won in 2017 (3-1) after falling to Seton Hall (4-3) the season before.

Each team recored five shots in the first half, but Lehigh struck first in the 50th minute of the game. 

A Lehigh corner kick led to chaos in the box, allowing freshman midfielder Natan Rosen to feed the ball to sophomore forward Josh Luchini who found the goal. Rosen said the team came out hungry for a goal in the second half, and Luchini’s competitive drive and hustle helped the team capitalize on the final 1-0 victory. 

“It was awesome to get a goal because we felt like we had been playing well in the second, and we finally got what we were looking for,” Rosen said. 

The team had looked to stretch its winning streak to two games in its next match against Binghamton on Sept. 17, but fell 2-1.

Luchini put the Mountain Hawks on the board with his team-high fourth goal of the season, but a quick equalizer from the Bearcats sent the teams into overtime. Lehigh was unable to find a game-winner.

Lehigh looked to bounce back from the loss by coming out in its first Patriot League matchup against American on Sept. 21. 

With goals from Rosen and sophomore forward Michael Tahiru, the team was able to clinch its fourth win and first Patriot League win of the season. 

Luchini said the squad’s “team first” mentality and close-knit dynamic has effectively translated into its play on the field this season.

“Our team mentality is more of a team first,” Luchini said. “We are incredibly close off the field and spend a lot of time with each other, which definitely helps our play on the field. These guys are my best friends, and I always look forward to seeing them everyday.”

Lehigh’s next matchup was against Penn on Tuesday, Sept. 24. 

It took the Mountain Hawks only 19 minutes to take the lead after Tahiru scored his second goal in two games, but Penn responded with a goal of its own to level the score before halftime. Luchini found the back of the net for a fifth time this season to put the game out of reach for the Quakers and secure the 2-1 victory.

Luchini’s most recent goal makes him tied for second in the Patriot League for “Point Total”—having five goals and eight points. He is also tied for first in the Patriot League for “Goals Scored” (5) and “Game-Winning-Goals” (2), and he leads in “Goals Per Game” (0.71) .

The Mountain Hawks will return home on Saturday, Sept. 28, when the team faces Boston University in its second Patriot League matchup. 

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