I always like trying to predict the end of year awards for the various sports. If nothing else, it gives me something to yell about when the coaches vote in a different direction.
For women's soccer, I was expecting the awards to be announced the night before the semifinals, so I never finished the predictions post. NOT THIS TIME. We'll look at each of the league's individual awards and the all-conference team as well.
Offensive Player Of The Year: Fabian Herbers, M/F, Creighton
Yep, I'm picking a guy who didn't even win Offensive Player of the Week once. Herbers is, however, leading the Big East in points this season with 25 on nine goals and seven assists. Georgetown's Brandon Allen, the preseason winner, is a tempting choice as he leads the league in goals with 10, but he only has three helpers on the year. Plus, hard to not pick the guy with the most game winning goals in the league.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Axel Sjoberg, D, Marquette
Three Defensive Player of the Week honors, including the last one of the season, more than anyone else in the league, plus Marquette finished third in the Big East in goals allowed. I'm not going with someone on the number one team in that category because.....
Goalkeeper of the Year: Connor Sparrow, Creighton
... Connor Sparrow has been a wall for the Bluejays on their way to the regular season title. He finishes the regular season with the best goals-against average in the conference (0.49), and only Villanova's Will Steiner throwing a block party in the regular season finale edged him past Sparrow for the save percentage title (.847 to .839). Sparrow's true talent comes at organizing his men in front of him, as he tied with Georgetown's Tomas Gomez for the fewest saves in the Big East this season with 47.
Midfielder of the Year: Louis Bennett II, Marquette
In league games only, Bennett finishes the season with ties for the second most points, the most goals, and the fourth most assists. Overall, he finished sixth in the conference in assists, and he does all of this while being the focus of the opposition's defense in an effort to dispossess him to stop Marquette from accomplishing what they want to do on the field. LB2 is only a sophomore, just like Herbers, so get ready for a long battle for supremacy between the two over the next two seasons.
Rookie of the Year: Matt Vasquenza, F, Xavier
The freshman from Connecticut is the only newcomer to be named Rookie of the Week more than once, with his second honor coming for the final week of the regular season. He leads all freshmen in points (16, T-6th Big East) and goals (6, T-6th Big East).
Coach of the Year: Andy Fleming, Xavier
Ah, it's too bad that Providence didn't win the league, as that would have been the obvious choice. Instead, I'm going to go with the staff at Xavier, who bootstrapped their team from a preseason pick of seventh place up to having a chance at sneaking out the regular season title on the last day of the season.
All-Big East Team
Brandon Allen, F, Georgetown
Louis Bennett II, M, Marquette
Fabian Herbers, M/F, Creighton
Jeff Kilday, D, Providence
Fabio Machado, F, Providence
Timo Pitter, M/F, Creighton
Axel Sjoberg, D, Marquette
Connor Sparrow, GK, Creighton
Matt Vasquenza, F, Xavier
Will Walker, M, Xavier
Joshua Yaro, D, Georgetown
A 4-3-3 formation, although you can make arguments about where Herbers and Pitter slot into that, given their combination designation. Herbers, Sjoberg, and Sparrow are all on there because of their awards, and ultimately, I couldn't come up with a reason to keep Bennett and Vasquenza out. Kilday was the only defender to pick up multiple Honor Roll nods, Machado finished with the sixth most points and didn't score three goals in two minutes like his teammate Markus Naglestad to throw his stats off for the year. Pitter was almost as dangerous as Herbers for the Bluejays, Walker led the league in assists with nine, and Yaro was the only defender not named Sjoberg to get multiple Defensive Player of the Week nods.