Tonight, Marquette (7-3-0) opens up the defense of their 2012 Big East regular season and tournament titles by traveling to Omaha to face Creighton before heading to Pennsylvania to play Villanova on Sunday. Instead of the usual preview of the games, we're going to check in with all of the Big East teams to see where everyone stands as the conference schedule gets started.
All notations next to the player stats are their rankings in the Big East for that stat. Without a statistics page on BigEast.org, I've been compiling my own stats, so unfortunately for DePaul, I can't tell you where someone with only two goals or assists ranks.
Ranking: Soccer America - 25
Goals Leader: Sophia Maccagnone, 6 (T-2nd)
Assists Leader: Sophia Maccagnone, 5 (4th)
Keeper: Julie Burton - 0.76 GAA (4th), .800 SV% (5th)
Maccagnone has picked up right where she ended her freshman campaign, and Butler has performed more in line with my expectations as opposed to what the Big East coaches were thinking. In fact, Butler's appearance in the last slot in Soccer America's top 25 makes the Bulldogs the only Big East team other than Georgetown to appear in the national rankings. They have four shutouts on the season against an assortment of various directional and hyphenate schools, but they do have a fifth shutout at home over Michigan. The lone loss on the season was a 2-0 decision while visiting the same Louisville team that Marquette beat in double overtime last weekend.
Goals Leader: Kirsten Corder, 5 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Lauren Cingoranelli and Jill Richgels, 4 (T-9th)
Keeper: Danielle Rice - 1.15 GAA (6th), .787 SV% (8th)
Does Creighton look much improved from last season? Yes, absolutely. But there's not a lot there in the non-conference schedule for the Bluejays. A 6-0 win over North Dakota? Eh. A 6-1 #BeatEmDown of Idaho, which was the Vandals' fifth straight loss to start the season? You get my point. CU has won seven straight in any case, which not something that Marquette can claim. Senior Kelsey O'Donnell is making a run at Defensive Player Of The Year, having picked up two of the four weekly incarnations of that award so far this season.
Goals Leader: Elise Wyatt, 5 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Ashleigh Goddard and MaryKate Cicinelli, 2
Keeper: Alejandria Godinez - 0.60 GAA (3rd), .878 SV% (2nd)
Defender Kylie Nordness made the preseason all-conference team, and it was well deserved. The Blue Demons have allowed just five goals in their eight games en route to the best start in program history. They're undefeated in their last seven after dropping the opener to Valparaiso, and two of their last three matches have gone into double overtime. Their contest against UW-Green Bay went to a scoreless draw, while Goddard ended the Colgate match with a golden goal in the 109th minute.
Ranking: Soccer America - 8, NSCAA - 10, Top Drawer Soccer - 8
Goals Leader: Kaitlin Brenn, 6 (T-2nd)
Assists Leader: Audra Ayotte, 8 (1st)
Keeper: Emma Newins - 0.49 GAA (2nd), .862 SV% (4th)
If you've been paying attention, you already noticed what's missing from that capsule of info on the Hoyas. Junior midfielder and 2013 preseason Offensive Player Of the Year Daphne Corboz missed the first five games of the season due to injury, but don't worry. She's already scored four goals and helped out on five others, so she's completely fit and her usual dangerous self. As you can tell from the national rankings, the unbeaten record, and the gaudy rankings next to Breen, Ayotte, and Newins' names, Georgetown didn't really suffer without Corboz in the lineup. Their only blemish is a 1-1 draw at home against AAC co-favorite Central Florida.
Goals Leader: Kathryn Hiller, 5 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Amanda Webster, 4 (T-9th)
Keeper: Kristyn Shea - 1.26 GAA (7th), .796 SV% (6th)
Catherine Zimmerman was on the preseason all conference team, and while she's played in eight of the Friars' nine matches, she's been quiet. The sophomore forward has registered just one goal and one assist so far on the season. Providence is winless in their last four, including a 3-0 loss to former Big East rival Cincinnati their last time out. They have two shutouts on the season: At Rhode Island in their season opener, and the other in a home contest against Vermont, which was also their last win.
Goals Leader: Rachel Daly, 11 (1st)
Assists Leader: Amy Marron, 7 (T-2nd)
Keeper: Diana Poulin - 0.26 GAA (1st), .943 SV% (1st)
Look, here's the deal: Those are wonderful numbers. But Daly hasn't scored a goal since finishing off her second hat trick of the season against Brown back on September 8th, and Marron's last assist came on Daly's second goal of that game. In fact, Daly's hat trick is the last time that the Red Storm have scored at all, as they've been shutout for just short of 214 combined minutes. First, it was a 1-0 loss to Ohio State, then it was a scoreless draw against Dartmouth. And by the way? Dartmouth's not very good. Before their current winless streak, St. John's opened their season by outscoring their opponents 21-1 in their first six contests, so you can tell me how strong the competition was.
Goals Leader: Kaitlyn Ritter, 4 (T-7th)
Assists Leader: Ashley Clarke, 5 (T-5th)
Keeper: Jennifer Pettigrew - 1.36 GAA (9th), .787 SV% (7th)
Well, let's try to find something good here. 1) Pettigrew has been named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll twice already this season. 2) Freshman Frankie Maier was named to the Honor Roll this past week for her two assist effort in the Pirates' 2-1 win in double overtime against Marist. 3) SHU is undefeated in overtime games this season, with a mark of 1-0-2. 4) The win over Marist broke a five match winless streak where the Pirates had a stretch of over 390 minutes without a goal. Ok, that last one wasn't all good.
Goals Leader: Katie Martin, 4 (T-7th)
Assists Leader: Katie Martin, 7 (T-2nd)
Keeper: Jami Kranich - 1.38 GAA (10th), .729 SV% (9th)
I think everyone expected more from Villanova. Between two players - midfielder Emily Damstram and defender Taylor Houck - on the preseason all conference team, the third place finish in the preseason balloting behind clear favorites Marquette and Georgetown, and one of three senior keepers, there was a lot to like about the Wildcats. None of it, especially Kranich's experience, has manifested, other than the talented feet of freshman Katie Martin. I'd try to pin a lot of their struggles on Houck missing three matches due to injury, but Nova went 2-1 without her in the lineup.
Goals Leader: Tori Doss and Maggie Hare, 3 (T-17th)
Assists Leader: Tori Doss, 4 (T-9th)
Keeper: Katie Markesbery - 0.74 GAA (5th), .870 SV% (3rd)
Hey, nice job by the team picked to finish last! Six of their wins have come by shutout, and they had a seventh shutout in a 0-0 draw against ... Eastern Kentucky. Well, it was a road game. Not a terrible result when you were picked to finish last. Their last outing was a 2-0 win over the University of Northwestern Ohio, which I'm pretty sure is not a Division 1 school. Still, 6-1-1 is still a good start to the season. Both Doss and Hare are freshmen, so this is a solid foundation to build on going forward.