North Allegheny grad Josh Luchini lighting it up at Lehigh
North Allegheny graduate and Lehigh men’s soccer player Josh Luchini earned two major awards back to back.
Luchini, a 6-foot sophomore forward, was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9 and Sept. 16.
At Northwestern on Sept. 6, Luchini scored an insurance goal in the 82nd minute to help the Mountain Hawks beat the Wildcats, 2-0.
Against Wisconsin two days later, Luchini helped the Mountain Hawks tie the score with a strike in the 12th minute. The Mountain Hawks lost to the Badgers, 2-1.
In a 1-0 victory over visiting Seton Hall Sept. 14, Luchini tallied the game winner in the 50th minute.
Luchini had five goals for the season. He scored Lehigh’s only point in a 2-1 overtime loss to Binghampton on Sept. 17, and added another in a 2-1 win over Penn on Sept. 24.
The Mountain Hawks were 5-2 overall and 1-0 in the Patriot League.
“This offseason, everyone worked really hard to get into shape so we could focus more on soccer in preseason,” said Luchini, 19. “Everyone is working really hard and it has been a collective effort to have the start we have had.
“My personal goals are to lead the team in goals scored, but, honestly, I could care less about that. As long as we are finding a way to win, I don’t care how we do it as long as we get it done and win a Patriot League championship.”
Lehigh coach Dean Koski said Luchini has improved a great deal since last season, when he made the All-Patriot League third team after being named rookie of the week twice.
“He has improved his running without the ball, holds the ball much better under pressure and has become a more clinical goal scorer,” Koski said. “Josh is projected to be one of the better forwards in the league.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him grow as a (Division I) player.”
Luchini, a 2017 United Soccer Coaches Fall High School Boys All-American who led North Allegheny to a repeat of the WPIAL Class 4A title, said the Mountain Hawks are closely connected.
“Everyone is buying into the system and we all work for each other,” Luchini said. “(It’s) pretty amazing to see it all come together.”
The Mountain Hawks lost in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament last season.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.