PHILADELPHIA – Penn’s captain was “Captain Clutch” Sunday in a 4-3 win for the Quakers. Duke Lacroix snuck in the game-winner in the 90’, scoring with 0:42 left on the clock as Penn escaped Rhodes Field with a 4-3 win over visiting Central Connecticut State.
Lacroix found an opening at the six-yard line and slipped his first of the season in following a well-worked passing sequence between Forrest Clancy and Chris Scian. The freshmen fed Clancy down the left flank and the junior perfectly placed a low cross to the feet of his captain.
That Penn was even in a position to require Lacroix’s late-game heroics was surprising after the Quakers stormed to a 3-1 lead at the 28’ mark. After allowing the match’s first goal to the Blue Devils 1:15 into the contest, the Red and Blue found their game and pounced on opportunities with three goals in just under 18 minutes. That lead proved to be unsafe, however, as CCSU tied the match with two goals in the second half – including an 88’ tally from Dominic Plant just 2:09 before Lacroix found the game-winner.
It was likely apropos that the Blue Devils tied the match as they had the better of play following Penn’s three-goal spurt midway through the second period. CCSU had a 7-1 edge in corner kicks, and used it to put the Quakers under pressure throughout the second half. First, it was a penalty kick strike from Zach Zurita in the 59’ which brought CCSU within one. Then, Dominic Plant won a loose ball following a corner in the 88’, a marker which appeared to send the match to extra time except for Lacroix’s heroics.
Plant’s goal with two minutes to play was very similar to the goal Keir Hannity scored 1:15 into the match to give CCSU its only lead of the game. Both came off second-chance opportunities following a Blue Devil corner kick.
After the early deficit, Penn responded with three goals in the first half. The first two came off the boot of Alec Neumann with Sam Engs adding the third.
Neumann opened his account for 2014 with a goal in the 10’ after finding the rebound of a Duke Lacroix shot. Fifteen minutes later, Neumann added a second marker working to open space and knocking in a Luka Martinovic cross to give the Red and Blue the lead.
Engs would score his first of the season just over two minutes later, benefitting from a scramble in the box following a Chris Scian cross and a Forrest Clancy second offering.
Max Polkinhorne made just two saves for the win, but they were enough to keep him unbeaten as a collegiate keeper. He is now 6-0-1 all-time in cage for the Quakers, with a 2-0-0 mark to begin 2014.
Penn is back in action on Sept. 12 at Seattle as part of a two-match trip to Washington.