Lacroix Named Rookie of the Year; Men's Soccer Earns Four All-Ivy

Ivy League Release

Three seniors who have left an unquestioned mark on the Penn men’s soccer program and a freshman well on his way to doing so were honored by the Ivy League on Wednesday when the 2011 All-Ivy awards were announced.

Among a vote of the Ivy League’s head coaches, forward Duke Lacroix was chosen Ivy League Rookie of the Year and honorable mention All-Ivy. Seniors Thomas Brandt and Christian Barreiro were selected first-team All-Ivy for the second year in a row while classmate Jake Levin was a second-team All-Ivy honoree.

Lacroix became the second player in Penn history to claim Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors after finishing tied for second on the team in both goals (5) and points (12). Lacroix had a pair of two-goal games, scoring twice against Saint Joseph’s (9/4) and Long Island (9/25). On October 8, Lacroix set up the game-winning goal with 0:44 to play at Columbia in a 3-2 Quaker win. Inside the Ancient Eight, Lacroix was tied for seventh in shots (41), eighth in goals and ninth in points. He joins Michael O’Connor (1996) as the only Penn players named the Ivy’s best rookie.

"Duke stepped in right away and made an immediate impact on our program. He is a special talent, and more importantly, a special kid,” head coach Rudy Fuller said. “Despite his experience with the U-15 & U-18 National teams and his NJSA04 Development Academy team, he entered our program humble, willing to learn, and with a tremendous work ethic. He won the respect of our more experienced players and took advantage of the opportunities he was given from the start. He was a constant threat for us throughout the year against some very challenging competition. He has a bright future ahead of him and I look forward to helping him grow on and off the field during the next three years."

For the three seniors who grew up playing together on the club circuit, it is fitting that they finish their collegiate careers together as All-Ivy performers.

Brandt will go down as one of the clutch performers in the history of Penn soccer, with 11 career goals from his normal position of center back. A first-team All-Ivy selection in 2010, Brandt earned his second consecutive spot on the first team with five goals this season – all in Ivy play. In fact, Brandt’s 10 points against Ivy foes rank second in the League during Ivy play and his five goals were tied for the most during Ancient Eight matches. On Oct. 8, he connected twice in the win at Columbia, tying the game at 2-2 before halftime after Penn had allowed two early goals to the Lions. Last weekend, in his final game for the Red and Blue, Brandt scored Penn’s first hat trick since Oct. 31, 1995 in a 3-2 win in double overtime at Harvard. All three goals came after the clock had reached 80 minutes, and his extra-time goal was the fourth game-winner of his career. A Capital One CoSIDA Academic Al-District selection, Brandt was a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidate this season and saw the most time on the field of any Quaker this season, playing 1,585 of a possible 1,597 minutes (99.2%).

"As I've said time and time again, Tom is one of the top players in the college game,” said Fuller. “All of us within our program and others who have seen us frequently over the years are well aware of how good Tom has become. In addition to his success on the soccer field, Tom has excelled in the classroom as well. He is the epitome of a student-athlete. He is a shining example of what our University and the Ivy League represents. Tom's value to our team this year was immeasurable. Time and time again, he came up big for our team when we needed him. Clearly, the other coaches in the Ivy League could see his importance to our team, and I am thrilled that Tom has been honored appropriately."

Midfielder Christian Barreiro set career highs in goals (7) and points (21) in his senior season. For the second year in a row, his seven helpers were the most in the Ivy League and his 21 total points tied for second-most by any Ivy player. Barreiro took 64 shots this season, most in the Ancient Eight, with his accuracy on free kicks always a threat. A two-time first-team All-Ivy performer, Barreiro’s 58 career points rank fourth in the modern era of Penn men’s soccer (1969-present).

"Christian is a truly special talent,” Fuller went on to say. “I think he is the best attacking player in our league and one of the most dangerous attacking players in the country. He can beat you in so many different ways - from a free kick, off a pass, or individually off the dribble. Christian is one of the most driven, competitive, and determined players that I have coached in my 20 years in college soccer. His work ethic and competitiveness have been a major reason for our team's success over the years and his performances this year were no different. I look forward to following his career in the years ahead. I am pleased that he has been named one of the best in our league. It is a well-deserved honor for him."

Jake Levin finishes his Penn career with a fourth selection as an All-Ivy performer. After an honorable mention selection in 2008, Levin has been named second-team All-Ivy each of the last three seasons. He joins a very elite group among Penn players, as only one other Quaker has been an All-Ivy choice in all four of his seasons – Steve Kroculik (2001-04) was a three-time honorable mention All-Ivy player (’01, ’03-04) to go with a second-team All-Ivy nod in 2002.

A consistent starter at center back all four years, Levin appeared in 66 matches and started all but one of those caps. This year, he scored twice, including his only career Ivy goal against Princeton on Nov. 5.

"Jake has become one of the more dominant defenders that I have ever coached,” said Fuller. “He has improved each and every year that he has been in our program, and is a tremendous competitor and a strong leader. He was the heart and soul of our team this year. He has always respected the history and tradition of our program and worked very hard to live up to those who had come before him. He was a fantastic mentor to so many of our younger players over the past two years and his legacy within our program will remain long after he has moved on. The fact that he is only the second player in the 107-year history of our program to be named All-Ivy in each of his four seasons appropriately sums up his quality as a student-athlete and his importance to our team."

Penn finished the 2011 season with an 8-7-2 record, and a 3-4-0 mark inside the Ivy League. Along the way, head coach Rudy Fuller posted his 100th career win while the Red and Blue won titles at the Penn Soccer Classic and the Ivy League/Big East Classic.