It's the first of August, so that means that it's time to stay ahead of the Big East and attempt to predict how the coaches will vote in the preseason awards for women's soccer. Some of these were easy choices, some of them took a little bit of thought, but hopefully you'll have a better idea of where the conference is going this season at the end.
Offensive Player of the Year: Elise Wyatt, DePaul
Sometimes you just have to keep things simple. Wyatt will be a senior this season, and she tied teammate Alexa Ben for the most points recorded last year in the "Not Daphne Corboz" Division with 29 on 11 goals and seven assists. It's not leading the Big East returning players in either individual category, as that goes to DePaul's Abby Reed in goals (12) and Ben again with 11 helpers. It is the most in combination though, plus bonus points for being a senior.
Defensive Player of the Year: Serina Kashimoto, Butler
Remember what I said about keeping it simple? Kashimoto is the only returning defensive player on last year's all-Big East team. Done and done.
Goalkeeper of the Year: Alejandria Godinez, DePaul
Well, I could go with last year's postseason GK OTY, but I don't actually think that Diana Poulin from St. John's deserved that award. Godinez continued her rocket shot to the top tier of goalkeepers in the Big East last season by posting the lowest goals-against average, giving up just 0.85 goals per 90 minutes. Did she benefit from the defense in front of her as she also had the fewest saves amongst keepers that worked the whole season? Sure, but that's not a reason to think that Poulin's actually better than her.
All-Big East Team:
Liz Bartels, F, Marquette
Alexa Ben, M, DePaul
Rachel Daly, F, St. John's
Emily Damstrom, D, Georgetown
Alejandria Godinez, GK, DePaul
Jacie Jermier, D, Marquette
Serina Kashimoto, D, Butler
Sophia Maccagnone, M, Butler
Marina Paul, M, Georgetown
Elise Wyatt, F, DePaul
Catherine Zimmerman, F, Providence
Seven players - Bartels, Daly, Kashimoto, Maccagnone, Paul, Wyatt, & Zimmerman - are lifted straight off of last year's all-conference First Team. Easy picks. At that point, it's just balancing out the team. The team needs defensive players to accurately portray what's on the field, so we pick up Jermier & Damstrom from the Second Team at the end of last season. They get the nod over Marquette's Morgan Proffitt essentially because they're seniors and she's only a junior. Godinez gets the final spot in the XI because she's the Keeper of the Year.
Top Five Teams
5. St. John's
The Blue Demons return three of the seven best goal scorers in the Big East last season, and those three - Wyatt, Ben, and Reed - have the three best returning points totals from 2014. Add in Godinez in net and that's a lock for a first place prediction, even if they have to find a way to replace two seniors from their back line. Georgetown has to find a way to replace Daphne Corboz and goalkeeper Emma Newins, but they've got pieces all over the field to paper over any flaws created in what they lost. The Golden Eagles had a rough go of it last season, missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven seasons, but there are reasons for optimism (Darian Powell's emergence as striker, Marquette is healthy after a spate of injuries late last season), but third still seems about right at this point. Past that, you just start throwing darts, and I give Butler credit for finishing last season on a four game unbeaten run.