No matter what school Penn men’s soccer is facing on any given week, you can bet there is one Quakers player that is at the top of everyone’s scouting report.
Senior forward Duke Lacroix is an offensive force that can make even the soundest of defenses look woefully inadequate, and he will once again lead the Red and Blue in a campaign for a second consecutive Ivy League title.
Lacroix enters his senior season not only as the reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, but also as the number one player in the conference according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. Lacroix will likely do battle with Princeton senior forward Cameron Porter — the only player in the Ancient Eight to outscore Lacroix in 2013 — for the top spot on the Ivy League statistics sheet this year as well.
“Duke is a really dynamic offensive player for us,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “He has certainly progressed very well over his three years here, and this year he is going to need to be even better because teams are going to be on the lookout for him, and they know how important he is to this program.”
Ever since earning the honor of Ivy League Rookie of the Year his freshman year, Lacroix has moved up in the ranks of the collegiate soccer world, earning second-team All-Ivy honors his sophomore campaign, before becoming a unanimous first-team selection last year as Penn stormed its way to an Ivy title.
However, despite the accolades and triumphs Lacroix has had in the past, he manages to maintain a constant high level of intensity.
“All the personal accolades are a true honor,” he said. “But what really keeps me going are the team goals and the team accolades we achieve as a program. I think any team triumph we have is far more important to me than any personal award.”
As if there wasn’t enough separating Lacroix from other athletes entering their senior year, there is the fact that this season may very well not be the last time we see or hear about him on the soccer field.
“Anytime you get a guy like Duke, who has such passion for the game and such a great work ethic, combined with such a high degree of talent, you get a player who is only going to get better,” Fuller said. “I believe he has a great opportunity to go on and play professionally.”
However, Lacroix isn’t quite ready to look that far into the future.
“I really appreciate the confidence the coaches have in me, and when I get to that point I’m sure it would be great to have that opportunity, but that’s just not where my mind is right now,” he said. “Right now, all I can think about is getting that first ‘W’ against Drexel on Friday.”
And if Lacroix plays up to the level his talent and resume suggests, it will go a long way toward keeping Penn soccer atop the Ivy League.