On Saturday, the Big East announced the end of season awards for men’s soccer. Marquette’s very own Luka Prpa was named Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous choice for the all-freshman team, while senior center back John Pothast was named to the all-Big East Second Team.
Prpa, the first Golden Eagle to ever be named Big East Freshman of the Year, finished his first season of collegiate soccer with 10 goals and six assists. His 26 points were second most in the entire Big East this season and the highest point total by any MU player since Chris Lee threw up 30 in 2003. His 10 goals are the most by a Marquette player since C. Nortey also had 10 in 2013.
While it’s an undeniable point that he deserved to be a unanimous choice for the all-freshman team, it is a crime that Prpa is not on the all-Big East First Team, much less not even being on the Second Team. I get that the coaches get into some sort of weird “OMG LEAGUE PLAY ONLY” nonsense when it comes to voting sometimes, buuuuuuuuuut Prpa finished fifth in the league for the nine match Big East season in points. C’mon man. What are we doing out there, man? For a brief moment on Thursday, the final match day of the season, Prpa had the league lead in points, and you’re telling me he’s not one of the 23 best players in the Big East?
Pothast wraps up his time at Marquette with the first postseason award of his career. He finished seventh on the team in shots this year and was a stalwart defender in front of both Mac Wheeler and Luis Barraza, providing calm and reliability amidst the chaos around him. He finished third on the team in minutes played, partially because he missed a half due to injury, but didn’t miss a start, just like his first three seasons. Pothast ends up with three goals and five assists while wearing the blue and gold.
Onwards, to the other awards, and boy oh boy, did they get kind of goofy.
Co-Offensive Players of the Year: Julian Gressel, Providence, & David Goldsmith, Butler
Gressel is absolutely the choice for this award. Between leading the league in points and doing that for the team that won the regular season title AND doing that without Mac Steeves, the preseason OPOY, I literally don’t know how you don’t vote for Gressel. YET SOMEHOW, there were an equal number of votes for Goldsmith, who finished 3rd overall in points (behind Prpa) and FIFTH when you only look at league play. The nicest thing you can say about him is that he tied for the league lead in goals... with Gressel and Butler teammate Lewis Suddick. Yeah, I don’t get what the coaches were thinking with this.
Co-Goalkeepers of the Year: Alex Kapp, Creighton, & Colin Miller, Providence
Ok, this tie I can actually understand, and in some way, I think it’s actually the right way to handle this. Kapp is clearly the best keeper in the league amongst the guys who were the starters for their squads all season long. Yes, maybe Creighton didn’t exactly hold on to the lofty preseason ranking that they had, but you can hardly pin that on Kapp.
If Miller had been the starter since Match 1 for the Friars, I’d be 100% on board naming him GKOY. However, not only did he replace Ben Seguljic after he was struggling, PC head coach Craig Stewart WENT BACK TO SEGULJIC even though Miller hadn’t allowed a goal through four matches. Eventually Miller was given the net and the Friars won the league title. Totally see the argument to vote for Miller, I just wouldn’t have done it because of the back and forth status.
Midfielder of the Year: Ricardo Perez, Creighton
Guys. Julian Gressel is a midfielder. Says so on PC’s website. I don’t get why he’s suddenly a forward after being named Offensive Player of the Week on Halloween as a midfielder. Also: Luka Prpa is a midfielder. So is Lewis Suddick. So is Butler’s Jared Timmer, who led the league in assists. So is Villanova’s Miguel Polley (2nd in assists, 5th in points), as is DePaul’s Simon Megally (7th in points, 5th in goals). So why, pray tell, did the league give this award to Perez?
Perez, a senior co-captain, has three goals and two assists this season during 17 matches. The All-BIG EAST First Team midfielder notched his second career multi-goal performance with a two-goal showing against Marquette on Oct. 15. Perez had five points in league action with two goals and an assist. Perez has not missed a match during four years at Creighton. He has played in 82 matches, including 62 starts.
That is literally the least convincing argument I have ever seen, and no, it has nothing to do with Perez getting two-thirds of his goal production in a match against Marquette.
Defensive Player of the Year: Cory Brown, Xavier
No arguments from me. Brown was my pick.
Coaching Staff of the Year: Providence
Absolutely the right pick. Craig Stewart and his staff worked their way around losing the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after two matches into a regular season title when there were two preseason top 10 teams in the league. Can’t beat that.
All-Big East First Team
David Goldsmith, Butler, Sr., F
Julian Gressel, Providence, Sr., F
Harry Cooksley, St. John’s, Jr., M/F
Ricardo Perez, Creighton, Sr., M/F
Jared Timmer, Butler, So., M
Simon Megally, DePaul, Sr., M
Christopher Lema, Georgetown, Jr., M
Cory Brown, Xavier, Jr., D
Mark Jecewiz, Providence, RS-Jr., D
Lucas Stauffer, Creighton, Jr., D
Colin Miller, Providence, RS-So., GK
I have no idea what Cooksley, Perez, or Lema are doing on this squad. None. Zero. This is some weird fallout of the league’s coaches refusing to acknowledge the plethora of scoring that came from midfielders this season. I’m not saying you can’t be an amazing defensive midfielder, but who are we kidding here? The league’s #2, #4, #5, #6, and #7 point scorers aren’t on this list. If you had skipped #2, but the rest were there, y’know, I’d be okay with it. Well, mostly okay. But five of the top seven? All of them aren’t in the 10 best field players in the league? One of the guys tied for the league lead in goals isn’t here. The #2 assists man in the league isn’t here.
We’ll wrap up with the Second Team and the All-Freshman team.
All-Big East Second Team
Riggs Lennon, Creighton, Sr., F
Ricky Lopez-Espin, Creighton, Jr., F
Miguel Polley, Villanova, RS-Jr., M/F
Andres Arcila, Seton Hall, So., M
Arun Basuljevic, Georgetown, Jr., M
Andreas Bartosinski, Villanova, Jr., M
Mitch LaGro, Creighton, RS-So., D/M
Mitch Ostrowski, Butler, RS-Sr., D
John Pothast, Marquette, RS-Sr., D
Shane Bradley, Villanova, Fr., D
Matt Nance, Xavier, Jr., D
Alex Kapp, Creighton, Sr., GK
Big East All-Freshman Team
Isaac Galliford, Butler, Fr., M
Lewis Suddick, Butler, Fr., M/F
Max de Bruijne, DePaul, Fr., D
Dylan Nealis, Georgetown, Fr., D
Luka Prpa, Marquette, Fr., M
Danny Griffin, Providence, Fr., M
Joao Serrano, Providence, Fr., D
Liam Wilson, Providence, Fr., D
Alistair Johnston, St. John’s, Fr., M
Jonathan Jimenez, Seton Hall, Fr., F
Shane Bradley, Villanova, Fr., D
Derrick Otim, Xavier, Fr., M