Luchini’s second career hat trick leads Lehigh to 4-1 victory over Bucknell
at Loyola (Md.)
03/27/2021 | 13 o’clock
BETHLEHEM, PA. – A nearly 500-day hiatus between college games kept junior striker Josh Luchini out of the loop on Saturday night when he scored his second career hat-trick to take the Lehigh men’s football team past Bucknell 4-1 at Ulrich run sports facility. All-American Luchini, who made his debut against the bison in spring 2021, now has 20 career goals and 46 career points in 41 career games in brown and white.
The Mountain Hawks’ four goals are the highest since their fourth goal against Boston University on September 28, 2019, a 4-2 win that is also Luchini’s first hat-trick of his career.
“First of all, it took three points to survive in this division and it was really important to get our first three points of the season tonight,” said head coach Dean Koski. “Every game is a playoff and we know what Bucknell brings and we know they will always be a good team. I thought the first half was an indication of that.”
“But it was good to open it in the second half and score some goals. Of course Josh Luchini is special in several ways, but we did a really good job giving him the opportunity to hit the ball in dangerous places to get.” It’s good to have him back, and we’re nowhere near 100 percent. So it was good for us to get that result when we missed some key starters. “
In search of their first win of the season, the Mountain Hawks (1-1, 1-1 South) took an early 1-0 lead in the 35th minute after Bucknell Lehigh fouled in the penalty area and prepared a penalty attempt. Second striker Jack Sarkos scored his first career goal and put Lehigh 1-0 up.
? Hats off to Josh Luchini! He did a hat trick for @LehighMSoccer, and this last one was stellar! @PatriotLeague | @NCAASoccer | @ESPN pic.twitter.com/PRMolP7qvr
– Patriot League on ESPN (@PatriotLeagueTV) March 21, 2021 Both teams were early and often behind each other as three yellow cards were recorded within three minutes, including two on the Mountain Hawks after the PK.
Aside from Sarkos’ goal towards the end of half, there were few good chances in the first 45 minutes as Bucknell led 4-2 in that category. Lehigh had eight fouls in the first half versus Bucknell’s three.
After the break, Luchini saw his first action in the second half, having started the competition on the bench for the first time this season. He made quick work of his appearance and scored a breakaway in the 48th minute to bring the Mountain Hawks 2-0 to the top.
Lehigh played by two goals for most of the next 25 minutes when a free kick was perfectly placed at the back post. He found Trevor Wiggins’ head when the bison cut the deficit in half by 2-1.
Just a few minutes later, in the 75th, Luchini found the end of the net again, a pass from Bratislav Petkovic, which Luchini ended for the double and extended Lehigh’s lead to 3-1.
In the 79th minute, Michael Tahiru put a through pass up so that Luchini could grab him. He threw it off the crossbar into his third goal of the game and brought the game 4-1 out of reach as the Mountain Hawks pulled away for the three-goal win.
Lehigh scored four goals in just six shots, five of them in victory, while Bucknell won the fight 14-6. All three shots from Luchini came in as Nolan Jetter, Austen Carranza and Sarkos added a piece.
The Mountain Hawks’ defense did their part as new goalkeeper Blake Koski allowed and parried just one goal out of 13 shots.
“We are obviously mixing up some players in the background and I was very happy with everyone who stepped on the field,” said Koski. “I thought Hassane Diakho had a really good game for us as a newcomer. But Tyler Dressman, Nick Jennings and Jonathan Blaine did a really good job managing the middle. And I think our full-backs that we subdue and with them occupy.” All four did a good job of taking us with us when we needed it. “
Lehigh will face Loyola Maryland on Saturday at 1pm. The Greyhounds fell 2-1 in overtime against the American Saturday night to start the season 0-1.
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Gallery: (March 20, 2021) Men’s football against Bucknell, March 20, 21