Yes, it’s already August, and that means that the fall sports calendar is right around the corner. Nine of the 10 women’s soccer teams in the Big East start play just 17 days from today, and that means it’s only a matter of time before we get preseason award announcements from the league office in New York. Here’s our incredibly carefully thought out picks for the individual preseason honors, the preseason all conference team, as well as a crack at which teams will finish in the top half of the Big East this season.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Rachel Corboz, Georgetown
Rule #1 of these preseason awards: Do not overcomplicate them. Corboz won the league’s points title a year ago with 38 points on 11 goals and 16 assists. She was the only player in the league with double digit assists and finished tied for third in the Big East in goals. Everyone tied or ahead of her in goals was a senior last season, so Corboz should be a shoo-in here. It also doesn’t hurt that the Big East coaches picked her for the preseason OPOY last August, either.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Anna Maria Baldursdottir, St. John’s
Rule #2: If there is only one returning defender on last year’s all-Big East team, they’re your DPOY at the start of the next season. Baldursdottir has been a mainstay of the all-league squads since she started playing for the Red Storm in 2015, so there’s no reason to think that she won’t keep that up here.
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Arielle Schechtman, Georgetown
Schechtman was one of two goalies on the postseason all-Big East Second Team last season, and with Diana Poulin and Kristyn Shea both wrapping up their collegiate tenure, the honor of “best remaining goalie in the league” seems to fall to Schechtman as a result. She’s not getting this by default, though. Schechtman allowed 0.54 goals per 90 minutes a year ago, second only to Poulin, and the now-junior had the third best save percentage, falling just fractional percentage points behind both Poulin and Shea.
Preseason All-Big East Team
Anna Maria Baldursdottir, D, St. John’s
Alexa Ben, M, DePaul
Amanda Carolan, F, Georgetown
Franny Cerny, F, DePaul
Rachel Corboz, M, Georgetown
Samantha Dewey, F, Xavier
Lucy Edwards, M, DePaul
Shannon McDevitt, D, Butler
Allie Moar, M, St. John’s
Arielle Schechtman, GK, Georgetown
Elizabeth Wenger, D, Georgetown
Obviously Corboz, Baldursdottir, and Schechtman are the easiest of easy choices for this team. From there, we can round out most of the 11 woman squad with choices from the non-seniors on the 2016 postseason all-league teams: Ben, Cerny, Dewey, Edwards, McDevitt, Moar, and Wenger all come from one of those two groups.
If you’ve been scoring along at home, then you can tell that brings us to 10 players. With one keeper, three defenders, and four midfielders already aboard, the 11th player needs to be a forward, and that’s how we arrive at redshirt sophomore Amanda Carolan. She finished tied for seventh in points in the Big East last season and was one of just six players to score 10 or more goals. If that’s not enough to convince you, she was Freshman of the Year last year and Corboz is the only other double-digit goal scorer that’s returning for 2017.
Top Five Teams
With the number of Hoyas and Blue Demons in the preseason all-league picks, those have to be the top two teams heading into the season. I don’t expect Marquette to have a preseason all-Big East honoree, but the Golden Eagles tied for the regular season title with DePaul a year ago, so they deserve to be tucked into the third spot. If those aren’t the top three squads at the end of the year, I’ll be shocked. I gave St. John’s the benefit of the doubt because of Baldursdottir, and Creighton is pretty much a guess/admission that I don’t particularly like anyone else in the league to finish in the top half.