The Big East has announced the results of the preseason polling of the league's men's soccer coaches. Marquette was picked to finish fifth, behind co-favorites Creighton & Georgetown, as well as Providence and Xavier. In addition to the team balloting, redshirt senior forward C. Nortey and junior midfielder Louis Bennett II were named to the 12 player preseason all-Big East team.
Creighton and Georgetown tied atop the team poll with 77 points, and both squads evenly split the first place votes with five each. Providence was a clear second place down at 65 points, while Xavier racked up 55 points. Marquette marked the clear plateau before the rest of the league with 50 points, as sixth place St. John's accrued 36 points. DePaul was a unanimous choice to finish last with nine points.
Fifth place is by no means a bad finish for the Golden Eagles. The four teams in front of them are all ranked in the NSCAA preseason top 25, and the top three teams are all in the top 10. 50 points for Marquette means that there's a few coaches in the league that have MU in the top four, so that's a positive sign.
Nortey and Bennett were easy choices for the Big East coaches to include on their ballots, although neither were unanimous choices after being all-Big East First Teamers a year ago. I don't get how you fill out a ballot without including all the First Teamers from the previous season, but that's where we are. Nortey finished tied for the third most goals in the Big East last season with seven, while Bennett tied for the third mosts assists with six. Everybody in front of both men on that list last season are either on this year's preseason all-conference team with them or exhausted their eligibility last season.
As far as the individual awards go, two of them turned out the way I saw it shaking out. Joshua Yaro was the obvious choice for Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, as was Creighton's Connor Sparrow as Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. The one that I don't like is Georgetown's Brandon Allen as Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Creighton's Fabian Herbers is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year from last season, and he finished the season with more points than Allen. Sure, Allen had one more goal last season, 11 to Herbers' 10, but so did Providence's Mac Steeves, and you're not going to see anyone arguing for him as OPOY.
Here's the full list of the preseason all-Big East team:
Preseason All-BIG EAST
^ Brandon Allen, Georgetown, Sr., F
Mac Steeves, Providence, Jr., F
C. Nortey, Marquette, Marquette, RS-Sr., F
David Goldsmith, Butler, Jr., F
Fabian Herbers, Creighton, Jr., M/F
^ Timo Pitter, Creighton, Sr., M
Louis Bennett II, Marquette, Jr., M
Julian Gressel, Providence, Jr., M
Keegan Rosenberry, Georgetown, Sr., M/D
^ Joshua Yaro, Georgetown, Jr., D
Cory Brown, Xavier, So., D
Connor Sparrow, Creighton, Sr., GK
The carrots at the front are for the three unanimous selections for the team, and I ams shocked that Herbers isn't one of them. How did at least one of the nine non-Creighton coaches in the Big East leave the reigning Offensive Player of the Year off their ballot? Don't you have to start your ballot with Herbers?
Thanks to a tie in the voting, there's 12 guys on this team, and that means that I got 10 of my predicted 11 onto the team. My lone miss was Providence's Dominik Machado, and the coaches voted for a different Friars midfielder (Gressel), so I give myself quarter credit for that one. Goldsmith is the other player I didn't have on my team, and he was eliminated in a tiebreaker with Steeves, so perhaps that's where the tie in the voting is.
You can check out the Big East's full press release on the preseason awards right here.