As we roll towards the start of the Marquette women's lacrosse season on February 6 (You're going down, Louisville!), it's time for the Big East to announce the preseason WLax awards. As a team, the Golden Eagles were picked to finish seventh in the Big East this season, finishing with 13 points in the coaches' balloting. That's five points in front of last place Cincinnati and seven points behind sixth place Temple. In terms of individual honors, senior defender Elizabeth Goslee is Marquette's lone representative on the all-Big East team.
Goslee was an all-Big East second team defender a year ago after being the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. She led Marquette in both ground balls and caused turnovers with 30 of each, and ranked fourth in the Big East in caused turnovers.
I attempted to do the math on how Marquette landed on 13 points when six of seven ballots have Cincinnati in last, but it made my head melt. The important thing here is that in two years in the Big East, Marquette is just 2-12 with the only wins coming over the Bearcats. It's hard to get respect in the preseason polling when you can't beat anybody but Cincinnati, so that'll be goal #1 for this season.
Florida is the pick to win the Big East this season, racking up six of the possible seven first place votes. Florida's pick to win was Connecticut, and the Huskies also got the other first place vote to finish in second place with 44 points, two behind the Gators at 46. The rest of the league is filled by Georgetown (36), Vanderbilt (31), and Villanova (26).
The Big East coaches picked Villanova's Jackie Froccaro as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year. She was joined in the single player awards by Connecticut's Lauren Kwasnowski as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Those were exactly the players that I expected to see with those awards, because when you get the postseason award last year and you come back for the next season, you should be the preseason winner. That's not hard.
Here's the Big East all-conference team:
Kristen Bandos, Georgetown, Sr., M*
Taylor Bresnahan, Florida, Jr., D
Sammi Burgess, Florida, Jr., A
Jill Doherty, Vanderbilt, Jr., M
Corinne Etchison, Georgetown, Sr., A
Katherine Finkelston, Connecticut, Sr., A*
Caroline Fitzgerald, Florida, Jr., D*
Jackie Froccaro, Villanova, Grad., A*
Elizabeth Goslee, Marquette, Sr., D
Alexa Kunowsky, Vanderbilt, Sr., M
Lauren Kwasnowski, Connecticut, Sr., D*
Shannon Nee, Connecticut, Sr., GK*
Grace Nolan, Connecticut, So., A
Sam Scarfogliero, Villanova, Jr., D
Devon Schneider, Florida, Sr., A*
Mallory Schonk, Vanderbilt, Sr., A
Mollie Stevens, Florida, Jr., M*
Nicole Tiernan, Temple, M*
The asterisks mark the nine players that were unanimous choices for the all-league squad. I put 16 players on my preseason all-Big East team based on what had happened in previous seasons, but there were ties in the voting this year, which is why we have 18 players on this list. Even with the extra leeway afforded me by the coaches, I only managed to get 13 of the women on this list correct. My misses were Cincinnati midfielder Courtney Curtis, Vanderbilt midfielder Emma Dagres, and Florida midfielder Nicole Graziano. All of the midfielders on my 15 player team were either First or Second Team All-Big East a year ago, so I'm not exactly sure why the Big East's coaches don't like those three women any more. The good news in regards to prognostication is that all nine unanimous choices were on my list.