In the early days of his freshman lacrosse season in 1999, Steve Dusseau was miserable. He was sidelined by a high ankle sprain. After being one of the nation’s most prized recruits out of Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio, he found himself unable to contribute to his new team and he just could not stand it. He was dying to get back on the field whether he was medically ready or not.

“His father’s a doctor, but he just has no use for the medical profession,” Head Coach Dave Urick said. “He was willing to try witchcraft. It’s amazing how impatient he was. He’s one of those athletes that is very self-motivated.”

Finally, in the 10th game of that season against Hobart, Dusseau broke out. With the Statesmen defense zeroed in on Greg McCavera (COL ’99), the Hoyas all-time leader in points and assists, Dusseau sneaked up and dumped in five goals to lead the Hoyas to a 14-10 victory. It would be one of the last times he could ever sneak up on anyone.

“I felt really good today for the first time in a while,” Dusseau said after the game. “I’m just happy to be out there.”

Once he got out there, he would rarely leave the field over the course of the next three seasons. Dusseau scored a goal in Georgetown’s 17-14 win over Duke in the 1999 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals that propelled the Hoyas to their only Final Four appearance to date. In his sophomore season, he doubled his scoring output, netting 26 goals while earning First Team All-ECAC honors. As a junior in 2001, he scored a team-high 38 goals and was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. He was a First Team All-American and a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, the award given to the best college lacrosse player in the nation.

So, going into his final season in 2002, to say Dusseau faced high expectations would be a huge understatement. He was Preseason First Team All-American and the ECAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. He was selected to play for Team USA at the World Championships this summer in Perth, Australia. He would be the undisputed No. 1 option on offense for a Final Four contender and would face the opposition’s top defender, if not its top two or three defenders, every game. In addition, he would be playing much more attack this year as opposed to midfielder, where he played the majority of his first three seasons.

To say Dusseau responded well would be just as huge an understatement. If he had not already done so before 2002, he locked up his place among the all-time greats in the history of Georgetown lacrosse. His 52 goals going into tomorrow’s NCAA quarterfinal matchup with Princeton gives him the school’s single-season scoring record. He leads the nation in goals per game and is third nationally in points per game. He is once again a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, once again ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and a certain First Team All-American.

“He’s the best player out there and he shows it game in and game out,” his teammate, senior goalie Scott Schroeder said.

Dusseau has turned in so many remarkable performances this year that it would be hard to pick one out as being especially impressive. He scored five times, including twice in the fourth quarter with multiple defenders draped all over him, to lead Georgetown to a 9-7 upset victory over then No. 5 Duke on March 24. He scored four more goals in Georgetown’s season saving 15-6 thrashing of Loyola on April 24.

If there was one time where Dusseau truly cemented his legend, however, it came on the afternoon of April 3 at Harbin Field against Bucknell. It was unseasonably cold for April and the Hoyas came out flat for the rare midweek game after dismantling Navy 14-7 four days earlier. They may have been ripe for an upset.

Dusseau was not going to let that happen. He came out and scored the game’s first three goals and there was no stopping him from there on out. Bucknell tried double-teaming him. They tried triple-teaming him. They tried to play zone defense. All of these attempts were futile. Dusseau racked up a career-high nine goals to lead the otherwise sluggish Hoyas to a 13-7 victory. If there was ever an instance of one player taking a team on his back, this was it.

“I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can hold a team on his shoulders like he can,” Schroeder said.

It would be hard to imagine Georgetown lacrosse without Dusseau these last four years. Coming out of high school in 1998, however, he had plenty of other options. There was Notre Dame, from where his two older brothers and father all graduated. There was also Princeton, which in 1998 was coming off its third straight national championship and fifth in seven years. Luckily for Georgetown, Dusseau made the decision to come and play for the Hoyas.

“Georgetown’s a great athletic institution and a great academic institution,” Dusseau said. “And Coach Urick has been a father figure for many of us away from home.”

That Dusseau has earned the respect of his opponents is obvious by the double and triple teams he routinely draws. It is also clear that he has earned the respect of his teammates, and not just for his on-the-field exploits.

“When you come into our locker room, you wouldn’t know you’re sitting next to the best player in the country,” junior long stick midfielder Kyle Sweeney said. Sweeney, also an All-American and the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year the last two seasons, is usually assigned to mark one of the opposing team’s top offensive options. He has shadowed All-Americans such as Duke junior midfielder Kevin Cassese and Syracuse sophomore attack Mike Powell. Sweeney said matching up against Dusseau in practice is just as difficult as defending the nation’s best in a game.

“[Dusseau] is definitely one of the better players I’ve ever guarded,” he said. “It really helps for a team to have a role model like him.”

With his brilliant college career quickly coming to a close, Dusseau said he is undecided on his plans for the future. A psychology major, he is a Dean’s List student and has been a GTE Academic All-American the last two seasons. He is the 2002 recipient of the Robert A. Duffey Scholar Athlete Award, given annually to one Georgetown senior who distinguishes himself both academically and athletically. As of now, however, he has no job lined up for after graduation.

One place where he certainly could have a job if he chose is ajor League Lacrosse. Dusseau may be the No.1 overall pick in the LL draft next month. Dusseau, however, is not sure about a pro-lacrosse career.

“It’s something I look at as just delaying the inevitability of finding a job,” Dusseau said.

Whatever path Dusseau takes in the future, he is likely to be successful if he brings the same passion and intensity he brought to Georgetown lacrosse. He has come a long way from when he was an injured, frustrated freshman desperate to get a chance on the field. He is the best of the best in the class of 2002.

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