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Unscientific Predictions: 2016 Big East Women’s Soccer Preseason Awards

We take a crack at predicting how the Big East coaches will vote on the preseason awards.

Marquette women's soccer defender Morgan Proffitt
Marquette’s Morgan Proffitt is my pick for Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Marquette women’s soccer kicks off their 2016 campaign with an exhibition game on August 11th against Wisconsin. The regular season gets started eight days later when the Golden Eagles head to Lincoln to square off with Nebraska.

With the calendar switching over to August soon, we can expect the Big East to release the preseason all-conference awards any day now. In the past, the league has suddenly snuck these awards out long before anyone would have expected it, so we’re not going to get caught off guard here.

Here’s our picks for the Big East’s three individual preseason awards:

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Rachel Corboz, Georgetown

The 2015 Big East Midfielder of the Year is the Big East’s returning points leader with 28 a year ago. This really doesn’t even need to be harder than this, y’know? An argument could be made for Creighton’s Lauren Sullivan, who tied Corboz in goals last year with 10. That argument is kind of nullified by Corboz finishing tied for the second most assists in the league last year, while Sullivan couldn’t even get into the top 17.

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Morgan Proffitt, Marquette

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where the Big East coaches might be leaning on DPOY. Sometimes it’s easy. This is one of the easy times, at least in my opinion. Proffitt is the only defender from the 2015 All-Big East First Team that’s back in 2016, so we’ve got to go with her. In fact, Proffitt is only one of two returning defensive players on the all-BE First or Second team from last fall, and I don’t think Georgetown’s Elizabeth Wenger, who is a junior, is suddenly going to bounce up and knock a three year fixture of Marquette’s defense off the pedestal.

Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Diana Poulin, St. John’s

If you won the 2015 postseason version of an award, you get to be the 2016 preseason version winner. That’s just making the obvious pick. I don’t agree with Poulin winning last fall, but her closest contenders are all out of college now.

Moving on to the all-league team, then....

All-Big East Team

Alexa Ben, M, DePaul
Rachel Corboz, M, Georgetown
Lucy Edwards, M, DePaul
Serina Kashimoto, M, Butler
Diana Poulin, GK, St. John’s
Darian Powell, F, Marquette
Morgan Proffitt, D, Marquette
Ylenia Sachau, D, Creighton
Lauren Sullivan, F, Creighton
Morgan Tinari, F, St. John’s
Elizabeth Wenger, D, Georgetown

Three forwards, four midfielders, three defenders, one goalkeeper. The midfielders were the easiest part of this list, because six of the 10 players returning from last year’s all-Big East First and Second teams were midfielders.

Obviously, Corboz, Proffitt, and Poulin got automatic bids to the all-Big East squad. Ben, Kashimoto, Powell, Sullivan, and Wenger were shoo-ins by way of their all-BE nods at the end of the 2015 season. Edwards beat out Marquette’s Liz Bartels and Georgetown’s Taylor Pak, all of whom were Second Teamers last fall, largely because I felt like the list needed a second Blue Demon over a third Golden Eagle or Hoya.

That leaves us with the two final players: Ylenia Sachau and Morgan Tinari. I needed a forward to balance the team out, and adding last year’s assists leader in Tinari was a pretty easy pick. Adding a third defender was a little complicated since 1) there wasn’t an obvious pick and 2) there isn’t really a stat in soccer that you can point to for defenders. Ultimately, it came down to Sachau against Marquette’s Erin Holland and Butler’s Shannon McDevitt. All three women were named Defensive Player of the Week once last season. I wasn’t comfortable with a third MU player on the all-league team in the preseason (we’ll see how good the team actually ends up), so that left it between Sachau and McDevitt. You can make an argument for the Bulldog junior, but I went with the Bluejay senior here for no other reason than seniority.

Top Five Teams

1 - Georgetown
2 - DePaul
3 - Marquette
4 - Creighton
5 - St. John’s

Somehow, I’ve picked teams in the top three slots that will have brand new starting goalkeepers this season. I’m sure that won’t bite me in the ass at some point. Georgetown and DePaul have both lost a ton from last season, but there’s still enough there to put them towards the front of the line. Marquette actually returns almost every notable key part EXCEPT goalkeeper. I went with Creighton over St. John’s even though the Red Storm have the best returning keeper in the Big East because the Bluejays have quietly been building something nice in Omaha. Sure, CU had the most goals allowed in conference play a year ago. They also had a freshman goalkeeper, so we’ll see if Erin Scott can improve in year two.