The Big East announced the results of the women's soccer preseason awards balloting from the league's coaches today, and Marquette was the unanimous choice to win the league in 2014.
Of course, when I say "unanimous," I mean head coach Markus Roeders was forced to vote for Georgetown because he couldn't pick his own squad. But the other nine coaches in the league all picked the Golden Eagles to win their sixth straight league title.
Marquette has gone 20-1-1 in matches against Big East opponents in the last three seasons, including a perfect 9-0-0 last year on the way to another league title and the second straight conference tournament crown. While Marquette will have to recover from the losses of Maegan Kelly and Taylor Madigan from the scoresheet, the Golden Eagles have a deep roster ready to win again. Of course, I had picked Georgetown in my prediction on the top five teams in the league this season, but that was ultimately more fear of Daphne Corboz than anything else.
Georgetown finished second in the polling, with 72 points against Marquette's 81. St. John's (64 points), DePaul (56 points), and Butler (48 points) had the next three spots to round out the top half of the conference.
What about the individual awards? St. John's took the two field player awards as expected, with Rachel Daly winning Offensive Player of the Year and Georgia Kearney-Perry taking Defensive Player of the Year. They both seemed like obvious choices to me when attempting to predict who would take home these awards, so it's nice to see the coaches agree.
When it comes to Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, the coaches went a different route. They selected DePaul's Alejandria Godinez, whereas I had predicted Emma Newins from Georgetown. My argument was purely that Godinez, the 2013 Goalkeeper of the Year, wouldn't be able to repeat her performance again this season. She had the stats last season to deserve the award to start this season, so I think that's a good choice by the coaches.
On to the all-conference team, then!
Daphne Corboz, Sr., M, Georgetown*
Rachel Daly, Jr., D/F, St. John’s*
Alex Godinez, Jr., GK, DePaul
Serina Kashimoto, So., M, Butler
Georgia Kearney-Perry, Sr., D/M, St. John’s*
Mary Luba, Sr., M, Marquette*
Sophia Maccagnone, Jr., M, Butler
Katie Martin, So., F, Villanova
Mady Vicker, Sr., M/F, Marquette
Elise Wyatt, Jr., F, DePaul
Catherine Zimmerman, Jr., F, Providence
It would appear that the coaches were allowed to vote for whatever players they wanted to on their ballots. I kept to a 3 forward/4 midfielder/3 defender formation on my choices, and that's where my predictions varied from the official team. I had Rachel Pitman from DePaul making the team as a defender instead of Wyatt, her teammate. while I had Kashimoto as one of my three defenders and she's listed as a midfielder here. I also missed on Martin and Zimmerman, instead putting in Elise Kotsakis from Butler (Second Team in 2013, 6 goals) and the apparently amazingly underrated Audra Ayotte from Georgetown (6G, 10 assists, no all-conference honors in 2013). In fact, Ayotte was one of the reasons I picked Georgetown to win the Big East this season, and for the record, yes, the 5'6" senior forward is still on their roster.
Marquette will host their yearly Fan Fest tomorrow evening before opening the regular season on Friday, August 23, at home in the Valley against Loyola-Chicago. First kick is set for 7:30pm Central time.