With 10 days to go before the start of the collegiate men’s soccer season, the Big East announced the 2016 preseason awards on Wednesday afternoon.
The big news for Marquette fans is redshirt senior center back John Pothast was named to the 12 man preseason all-Big East team. In addition to that, Marquette finished tied with St. John’s for seventh place in the poll of the league’s coaches on the expected order of finish this season.
Pothast has started every single match he’s appeared in for Marquette in his three active seasons for Marquette, and he’s just missed one contest in that time. He’s one of, if not the most veteran defensive presences in the Big East, and as the captain for a very, very young squad, he’ll be called on to make a big impression both on and off the field this season.
The seventh place prediction - 11 points behind sixth place Villanova and six points in front of ninth place DePaul - is probably about right for a Marquette squad that has 13 players that have never appeared in a college soccer match before and returns absolutely no goal scoring from last year. Heck, it’s actually pretty positive, considering the fact that Marquette went 1-7-1 in league play last year and finished in ninth place.
Onwards to the individual awards handed out by the Big East, although this is going to go very quickly because there are no surprises here.....
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Mac Steeves, Providence
Steeves’ 28 points last season are more than any other player that’s returning for the 2016 season. This doesn’t have to be complicated.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Cory Brown, Xavier
Between the First Team and Second Team, there were six defensive players named to the All-Big East team at the end of the 2015 season. Brown is the only one of the six that’s back again this season. Again, not complicated.
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: J.T. Marcinkowski, Georgetown
Nine league matches last season, nine wins for the Hoyas, six shutouts for Marcinkowski. Oh, and he was First Team all-Big East last year. Still not complicated.
And that’s that. I’m not wasting your time here because those were the most obvious choices for the three individual awards and the league’s coaches got them 100% right. In fact, the only thing I’m disappointed about is that the Big East’s press release on the awards doesn’t state that they were unanimous choices.
2016 Big East Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First place votes in ( )
1. Creighton – 74 pts. (5)
2. Georgetown – 71 pts. (2)
3. Providence – 64 pts. (2)
4. Xavier – 58 pts. (1)
5. Butler – 56 pts.
6. Villanova – 39 pts.
T7. Marquette – 28 pts.
T7. St. John’s – 28 pts.
9. DePaul – 22 pts.
10. Seton Hall – 10 pts.
Well, the top three is exactly as I had it.... well, no. It’s the same three teams, but with the Bluejays and the Friars flipping spots. Given that the Jays are ranked in the top 10 to start the season and Providence isn’t, I can’t really argue with how this turned out. I am fascinated to see four teams earn at least one first place vote when two of the teams (Creighton and Georgetown) are starting the season ranked in the top 10 and no one else in the league got so much as a vote for the NSCAA top 25. But hey, I called my attempt at a top five “a complete crapshoot” so there you are. Xavier’s in the top five and DePaul isn’t. Apparently the coaches decided to believe in DePaul’s 1-9-0 record in the non-conference matches last season as opposed to their 4-4-1 in Big East games. Oh well.
Preseason All-Big East Team
David Goldsmith, Butler, Sr., F ^
Mac Steeves, Providence, Sr., F ^
Matt Vasquenza, Xavier, Jr., F
Julian Gressel, Providence, Sr., M
Arun Basuljevic, Georgetown, Jr., M
Ricardo Perez, Creighton, Sr., M
Dominic Machado, Providence, Sr., M
Simon Megally, DePaul, Sr., M
Cory Brown, Xavier, Jr., D ^
Lucas Stauffer, Creighton, Jr., D
John Pothast, Marquette, Sr., D
J.T. Marcinkowski, Georgetown, So., GK
As you can see by the little carrots, there were three men who were unanimous choices for the all-league team, and somehow, J.T. Marcinkowski is not one of them. That’s amazing. I guess I can’t really argue with Goldsmith getting all of the coaches’ votes since he does have the second most returning points in the league.
I got nine of my 11 league picks correct, and my 10th was Louis Bennett II, who has signed a professional contract since the start of the month when I put my list together. Considering that I had no idea which defenders to put on the team, I can’t really be upset with the coaches for going with Lucas Stauffer and John Pothast for the final two spots. I’m guessing the tie in the voting that created a 12 man team came in the midfielder voting, as there’s five of those guys out there.