We’ve already attacked the predictions for women’s soccer here in 2016, so now we turn our attention to men’s soccer.
Marquette’s men’s soccer team will play three exhibition matches: August 13th vs Wright State and August 16th vs Detroit, both at Valley Fields, and then a road trip to Nebraska-Omaha on August 20th. The regular season kicks off when the Golden Eagles host Kentucky on August 26th.
With the calendar switching over to August, 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: Mac Steeves, Providence
Rule #1 for preseason OPOY is simple: The returning points leader is your guy. Steeves had 28 points last season, which trailed Georgetown’s Brandon Allen and Creighton’s Fabian Herbers, but they’re both in MLS now. TA-DA, Steeves is OPOY.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Cory Brown, Xavier
Rule #1 for picking these preseason awards is “Don’t Overthink It.” Brown is the only returning defensive player out of the six that were named all-Big East in 2015. Seems like a safe bet to me.
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: J.T. Marcinkowski, Georgetown
While I still don’t understand how Marcinkowski snuck onto the All-Big East First Team when he wasn’t one of the two guys who tied for Goalkeeper of the Year, he was still there along with a guy who was a senior last year. Maybe he gets a challenge from Butler’s Eric Dick, who was named to the Second Team, but seeing as Georgetown went 9-0-0 with Marcinkowski manning the net, I don’t see how the coaches don’t throw votes his way again now.
Preseason All-Big East Team
Arun Basuljevic, M, Georgetown
Louis Bennett II, M, Marquette
Cory Brown, D, Xavier
David Goldsmith, F, Butler
Julian Gressel, M, Providence
J.T. Marcinkowski, GK, Georgetown
Simon Megally, F, DePaul
Ricardo Perez, M, Creighton
Miguel Polley, M, Villanova
Mac Steeves, F, Providence
Matt Vasquenza, F, Xavier
Steeves, Brown, and Marcinkowski all get onto the all-league team by way of their individual awards. Basuljevic is the only other all-Big East First Teamer remaining from the end of the 2015 season, so he gets the easy nod, too.
That leaves us with lots of empty space on the 11 man roster, so Goldsmith, Megally, Bennett, and Gressel, all Second Teamers last season, easily make the cut here.
From there, things get a little complicated. Cory Brown is the only returning defensive player out of the six on the First and Second teams at the end of last season. There are three guys who won Defensive Player of the Week that are back again this season, but I’m not that fired up about any of them, and there’s no defensive player returning who won a spot on the Weekly Honor Roll last year to help break a tie there.
So the options are thus: randomly guess at defenders that might make it onto the squad OR give the benefit of the doubt to offensive guys who stood out for various reasons. I went with B. Ricardo Perez had six goals last season? ON THE TEAM. Miguel Polley had six assists and isn’t a second Blue Demon like Hans Wustling would be? ON THE TEAM. Matt Vasquenza is the only returning player in the league who had multiple Weekly Honor Roll nods but isn’t already on the preseason all-BE team? ON THE TEAM.
Is this going to result in a bunch of horrifyingly wrong choices? Probably. At least that’ll make things fun when the Big East announces the actual results of how the coaches voted.
Top Five Teams
1 - Providence
2 - Georgetown
3 - Creighton
4 - Butler
5 - DePaul
This is a complete crapshoot. I honestly think Georgetown has lost way too much (6 starters who were either First or Second Team all-Big East!) to be the leader at this point, but on the other side, they bring back an all-league goalie who anchored the best scoring defense in the conference last year. So they’re second, behind the Friars who have Gressel and Steeves racking up points for them. Creighton is going to have to deal with Fabian Herbers and his 47 points heading to MLS after his junior year, but there’s no reason to think they’re going to suddenly be bad. Butler and DePaul are really just guesses there, but I somehow completely forgot that the Blue Demons went 4-4-1 in league play after going 1-9-0 in non-conference play.