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Unscientific Predictions: 2017 Big East Women’s Soccer Postseason Awards

Some awards are easy to figure out, some are a little harder.

Eastern Washington v Georgetown Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Big East women’s soccer regular season wraps up on Thursday. Today is Wednesday, the day before, which means it’s time to make some postseason award predictions. The league office has proven to be much too sneaky in their speed at releasing their awards after the regular season is over, so we have to make sure we get out in front of it.

Sometimes these awards are obvious, sometimes you need to dig deep.

Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year: Rachel Corboz, Georgetown

This is probably going to be a very split vote this season. There are three women currently tied for the Big East lead in points at 20: Amanda Carolan and Rachel Corboz from Georgetown and DePaul’s Franny Cerny. Carolan and Cerny are also tied for the season lead in goals at nine, but I’m giving the edge to Corboz, who has just five goals on the season. Why? Because she has 10 assists, and no one else in the league has more than five. If the coaches vote for Carolan, I won’t be surprised, and if Cerny scores while propelling DePaul into the conference tournament (they’re currently on the outside), I wouldn’t fault them for giving her the trophy.

Even if OPOY goes somewhere else, I don’t have any idea who will challenge Corboz as the best middie this season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Elizabeth Wenger, Georgetown

She’s earned four Defensive Player of the Week awards and she was preseason DPOY. Rule #1: Don’t overthink these things.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Arielle Schechtman, Georgetown

Yeah, there’s a whole lot of Georgetown in these awards.

Ok, so I’m pretty sure that the coaches are going to vote for Schechtman and her 0.39 goals-against average. There is a tiny catch to all of this. For whatever reason, Butler has been splitting time all season between Hannah Luedtke and Leonie Doege in net. Luedtke has allowed just two goals all season, while Doege has allowed only one goal. You’d think that this would lead to one of them winning Goalkeeper of the Year, excepppppttttttttttt they’ve both played less than 850 minutes. Meanwhile Schechtman’s up over 1600 minutes played. If this award was going to the goalkeeping situation with the lowest goals-against average, like the NHL’s Jennings Trophy, then obviously Butler would win. But I can’t in good faith say either Luedtke or Doege deserve to hoist the trophy themselves and the coaches are going to vote for one keeper. It has to be Schechtman.

Freshman of the Year: Caitlyn DiSarcina, Butler

I think DiSarcina is the best candidate here, but I’m willing to believe that the coaches could vote for Leonie Doege here, too. DiSarcina is tied for seventh in the league in points and tied for fourth in the league in goals. One of the people in the four-way tie for fourth in goals is her teammate, Paige Monaghan, and yes, that means that DiSarcina is tied for the team lead in goals on a squad that has a crack at the #1 seed in the Big East tournament. Doege should get some consideration, given that she’s allowed just one goal all year. The minutes thing can’t hurt her here, because DiSarcina has actually played less than her.

Coach of the Year: Tari St. John & Rob Alman, Butler

The married couple steering the ship in Indianapolis deserves the honors here, if for no other reason than they’ve figured out how to keep both Leonie Doege and Hannah Luedtke sharp while splitting time. They’ve also got the bonus of being picked to finish sixth this season, and people love voting for overachievers in that regard. If Butler pulls off the regular season title, this should be a shoo-in for them. Don’t overlook Xavier’s Nate Lie here, either. He took over the team in May after Kacey White resigned after just five months on the job, and Lie has the Musketeers just 90 minutes away from a possible Big East title after being picked to finish ninth.

All-Big East Team

Eli Beard, M, Marquette
Christina Bellero, F, St. John’s
Alexa Ben, M, DePaul
Amanda Carolan, F, Georgetown
Franny Cerny, F, DePaul
Rachel Corboz, M, Georgetown
Katie Day, D, Providence
Emily Kuefler, D, Villanova
Paige Monaghan, F, Butler
Arielle Schechtman, GK, Georgetown
Elizabeth Wenger, D, Georgetown

Corboz, Wenger, and Schechtman are requirements due to their individual awards. Everyone else is on here by way of either the Big East’s scoring charts or their weekly award tallies from during the season. Marquette’s Eli Beard was my final addition to the team as I scoured the league for a well regarded midfielder, but the league’s weekly awards did not see fit to recognize midfielders outside of Corboz or Ben regularly this season. Beard is in the top 10 in assists in the league, so she’s more than deserving of her spot, and I needed a midfielder. Villanova’s Emily Kuefler is listed as a defender, but she’s tied for fifth in the league in points this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get marked somewhere else and another defender take her spot in the back on the Best Eleven. Providence’s Katie Day was my third defender on the team, but she does have a Defensive Player of the Week and two Weekly Honor Rolls in her back pocket to support her spot.

And now, I want to turn the show over to Besay, our valiant women’s soccer correspondent. He’s been doing all the WSOC previews and recaps, so I asked him to chip in his thoughts on the league’s awards.

Offensive Player of the Year: Rachel Corboz, Georgetown

This was a no-brainer. She’s my Big East Offensive Player of the Year due to her amazing performance throughout the season leading the Hoyas’ prolific attack. She comes in tied for first in points (20), and leads the Big East in assists with 10. Her 10 assists are good enough for a tie for second in the nation. That is no joke. She is the Hoyas’ best and most consistent offensive weapon (and there are a lot of them).

Defensive Player of the Year: Elizabeth Wenger, Georgetown

Wenger has been the best defensive player this year and wins the Defensive Player of the Year award in my opinion. She not only has won the Defensive Player of the Week Award FOUR times this year (which is essentially half the Big East season), but has also helped the Hoyas concede the second fewest goals in the Big East with seven. She has clearly been the most dominant defensive player this season.

Freshman of the Year: Julia Leonard, Butler

Butler’s Julia Leonard has shown incredible leadership as a freshmen to help Butler’s defense be the best in the Big East. They’ve allowed just two goals in Big East play which is far and away the best mark. Leonard has started in every game for the Bulldogs this season and has won the Big East Freshmen of the Week award once. She is also my Big East Freshmen of the Year winner for her defensive dominance on a Butler team currently ranked 20th in the nation.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Maddy Henry, Marquette

I could have picked Georgetown’s Arielle Schechtman or either of the Butler goalkeepers but I think Maddy Henry has made the biggest difference in net for her team because she hasn’t had the benefit of a lockdown defense for most of the year compared with Georgetown and Butler. Henry ranks in the top 5 in saves, save percentage, and saves per game and is second in the Big East in shutouts with eight. Without her efforts in net, the Golden Eagles probably wouldn’t be in the Big East tournament because their defensive struggled in the middle of the season. She has also won Big East Goalkeeper of the Week twice and has been named to the weekly honor roll twice. Henry is also my Big East Goalkeeper of the Year for being the biggest reason why the Golden Eagles are in the Big East tournament.

All Big East Team

Eli Beard, M, Marquette
Alexa Ben, M, DePaul
Amanda Carolan, F, Georgetown
Rachel Corboz, M, Georgetown
Katie Day, D, Providence
Maddy Henry, GK, Marquette
Julia Leonard, D, Butler
Paige Monaghan, F, Butler
Jesse Schaefer, D, St. John’s
Lucy Whipp, M, St. John’s
Elizabeth Wenger, D, Georgetown

Forwards: This was the easiest one for me as Butler’s Paige Monaghan and Georgetown’s Amanda Carolan were the most dominant forwards this season.

Monaghan finished in the top 5 in the three major offensive categories (goals, assists, points) with seven goals and five assists for a total of 19 points. She’s also third in the league in shots with 54 and earned one Big East Offensive Player of the Week award. With one game remaining she’s currently tied for first on her team in scoring and is her team’s assist leader.

Carolan is one of many Georgetown players that really impressed me this season. She wins out because she is currently tied for the league’s top goal scorer with DePaul’s Franny Cerny at 9 and is tied for first in points with her teammate Rachel Corboz and Cerny at 20. The difference between Carolan and Cerny for my second forward spot? Carolan’s Hoyas are currently in first while DePaul is still fighting for a playoff spot. I value how the team is doing due to the player’s performance and Georgetown’s offense has been way more dominant than DePaul’s. Carolan also won the Big East Offensive Player of the week award and was on the Big East Honor Roll once this year.

Midfielders: Choosing this was difficult — outside of Corboz, which was obvious — because midfield play often goes unnoticed.

Marquette’s Eli Beard has been the glue that has held the Golden Eagles together this season. She has been the leader right from the start with her ability to be at the center of the attacking buildup for the Golden Eagles. She ranks in the top 10 in the Big East in assists with four and is second on the team and has added two goals as well to tally eight points. What’s been most impressive about her play has been her ability to make her teammates better.

St. John’s Lucy Whipp has been instrumental to her team thus far and without her play the Red Storm wouldn’t be on the brink of clinching a playoff spot. Whipp has been a key factor in setting up the attack and leads the team in assists with five. She has created opportunities for players like Christina Bellero to shine.

DePaul’s Alexa Ben has continued her great play this season with seven goals this season. That puts her in a tie for fourth in the Big East. She was the Big East Midfielder of the Year last year and is making a case for that award again this season. She’s been named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions this year and tied for 8th in the league in points with 15.

Defenders: I was tempted to just put the Butler back line here considering they have only surrendered three goals all season. But I had to give other players credit as well.

St. John’s Jesse Schaefer has been the leader on defense for the Red Storm. She’s been a key factor in St. John’s goalkeeper Jordan Kamp allowing the fourth fewest goals (13) among Big East goalkeepers that have played 10+ games. She also has one Defensive Player of the Week award earlier this month.

Providence’s Katie Day has flown under the radar but has had an incredible season. She has won the Defensive Player of the Week award once as well as one Big East Honor Roll selection. She has led a defensive effort that has made goalkeeper Emily Hogan look great only conceding 16 goals. Hogan’s goals against average ranks 4th best in the Big East.

I chose my Best XI based of player performance and overall team performance. As you can see all of the players are either in the Big East tournament or with a chance to qualify on the last match day. The goalkeeper position was the toughest choice because Arielle Schechtman and the two Butler goalkeepers played lights out this season. The only reason I didn’t pick Leonie Doege or Hannah Luedtke of Butler is because they each split time in net. I also credit the Butler defense more than the goalkeepers for the defensive dominance Butler showed throughout the season. The same can be said for Schechtman. She was only forced to make 29 saves this season.