On Wednesday afternoon, the Big East announced the preseason awards for the 2016 women’s soccer season. In what could not have been a surprise to anyone, Marquette defender Morgan Proffitt was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
As a team, the Golden Eagles were picked to finish third, trailing Georgetown, the unanimous pick to win the league, and DePaul. Proffitt was joined on the preseason all-league team by fellow senior Liz Bartels.
As the only returning defensive player from the 2015 All-Big East First Team, Proffitt was the easy choice as DPOY. The Columbus, Indiana, native has registered five goals in her three years in blue and gold, including a career high three last season. She’s been a mainstay of the Marquette defense since the moment she arrived in Milwaukee, playing in every single match and starting all but two of those contests. Proffitt is coming off of a summer where she earned a call up to the United States Under-23 squad and won a gold medal in the 2016 Nordic Tournament in England, and she’s on the preseason watch list for the MAC Hermann Award, which is essentially the Heisman Trophy of collegiate soccer.
Bartels has tallied 10 goals and 32 points in her three year Marquette career. She’s been an impact player from day 1 and has earned a starting lineup spot in all but one of her appearances in the last two seasons. Bartels has earned all-Big East honors each of the last two years, and this is the second straight season that she’s been on the preseason all-league team.
Let’s turn our attention to the rest of the Big East awards.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Rachel Corboz, Georgetown
When you finish last season with five more points than any other returning player, you get to be the preseason OPOY. This was pretty easy and obvious.
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Diana Poulin, St. John’s
While I disagree with Poulin’s two GKOY awards, I can’t deny that she got them, nor that she’s the best returning keeper in the league this season.
Predicted Order Of Finish
1. Georgetown - 81 (9)
2. DePaul - 64 (1)
3. Marquette - 61
4. Butler - 55
5. St. John’s - 53
6. Providence - 44
7. Creighton - 35
8. Xavier - 26
9. Villanova - 21
10. Seton Hall - 10
It turns out that the Big East coaches are not as excited about Creighton’s development as I was in my preseason picks. They landed Butler at #4, which is where I had the Bluejays, who ended up down at #7. Other than that, my top five is the same teams in the same places as the voting. Way to go, coaches!
All-Big East Team
Anna Maria Baldursdottir, St. John’s, So., D
Liz Bartels, Marquette, Sr., M/F
Alexa Ben, DePaul, Jr., M*
Franny Cerny, DePaul, So., F
Rachel Corboz, Georgetown, Jr., M*
Grace Damaska, Georgetown, Sr., F
Serina Kashimoto, Butler, Sr., M*
Christina Klaum, Providence, Jr., M
Marina Paul, Georgetown, Grad., D
Diana Poulin, St. John’s, Sr., GK*
Morgan Proffitt, Marquette, Sr., D/M*
Abby Reed, DePaul, Sr., F
Halle Stelbasky, Butler, So., F
Crystal Thomas, Georgetown, Grad., F
Lucy Whipp, St. John’s, So., F
Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan is officially my mortal enemy. Look. Congratulations on your players managing to get through college in three years. I would appreciate it if you would do one of two things. Either A) Stop listing players in their third year of eligibility as seniors because they’re going to finish their degrees that school year or B) put up your roster before August 1st so I can be aware of which players are secretly returning for a fourth season that no one actually realized that they had available. Some of us are attempting to care enough about your sport to do preseason predictions, and you’re ruining that effort.
To put it another way, it’s a total shock to see Crystal Thomas and Marina Paul on this list because Georgetown had them listed as seniors a year ago. Georgetown pulled this gag a year ago with goalkeeper Emma Newins who went freshman/sophomore/senior/graduate student in her four year progression through the roster. Given the nature of scholarships in women’s soccer (i.e. there aren’t full rides for most players), it’s not ridiculous to expect seniors to not return for another year, even if they have only played three seasons. Get your act together, Hoyas.
Where was I?
Oh, right, the all-Big East team.
It makes zero sense.
Even with ties creating a 15 person team, I managed to predict just five players correctly, and those five are the returning players that were First Team All-Big East a year ago. They’re also the five players who were unanimous choices to the team, so there’s that, I guess. I also attempted to properly balance my team, so that meant I had to choose between Bartels, DePaul’s Lucy Edwards, and Georgetown’s Taylor Pak in the midfield and I picked wrong with Edwards.
That’s fine, though. What I don’t get is how Marquette’s Darian Powell and Creighton’s Lauren Sullivan, both all-Big East Second Team a year ago, were shoved to the side for Cerny, Damaska, Stelbasky, and Whipp. You’re telling me that Sullivan, who had the second most points of all the returning players can’t get on the all-league team now? C’mon man. What are we doing out here, man? Last year, people thought Powell was more deserving of an all-league nod than Stelbasky, even though she had more points and more goals. What changed?
I don’t even know how the hell Baldursdottir and Klaum got anywhere near this list. Their 2015 honors amount to one Weekly Honor Roll appearance and a spot on the All-Freshman team. COMBINED.
Maybe this is just going to be a weird season for women’s soccer. Hopefully the postseason awards will be much easier to figure out.
Marquette opens their season by hosting an exhibition game against Wisconsin on Thursday night at 7:30pm CT. The regular season kicks off on August 19th, when Marquette visits Nebraska.