There’s one final match day on the Big East men’s soccer calendar. Since that’s on Wednesday, it’s only fair that we spend some time on Tuesday making some postseason award picks. The conference tournament will get started over the weekend, and the league office will likely issue a press release with the official awards pretty quickly after the regular season ends.
With that being the case, let’s get to the picks!
Offensive Player of the Year: Sven Koenig, F, Creighton
I have been hit over the head over and over and over again by the Big East coaches deciding to give more weight to what happens in league play as opposed to the entire season. This is why I’m going with Koenig, who has the league play lead in goals with six and the league play lead in points with 12. This is opposed to Xavier’s Simen Hestnes, who has 21 points to lead the league for the entire season, but just eight of them are in XU’s eight league matches to this point.
There is also the added bonus of Koenig’s team has already clinched the regular season title outright while Hestnes’ team might not make the Big East tournament.
Midfielder of the Year: Joel Rydstrand, Creighton
This is more of a gut pick than anything else. Stats say I should go with DePaul’s Istvan Wilhelms, who is amongst the league leaders in points in Big East play. However, Rydstrand has posted four of his five assists on the season in league play, and while it qualifies as recency bias, he did earn the most recent Offensive Player of the Week award. He hasn’t been on the stat sheet much, but with the Bluejays showing a goose egg in the loss column in conference matches, it’s hard to imagine that the coaches won’t show a bias for Creighton in the voting.
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Seagrist, D, Marquette
Yeah, this surprised me, too.
However, Seagrist has three Defensive Player of the Week awards this season, more than anyone else in the league. It’s hard to judge defensive players in soccer, particularly when it’s goalkeepers that get credit for the stats that the teams put up. But the league office honored Seagrist more than anyone else this season, so I have to respect that. I suspect that Seagrist got the notice because he plays the wing in Louis Bennett’s system, which routinely has him in the offensive third and he can easily rack up points (3 goals, 2 assists this year) from there.
Georgetown’s Brendan McDonough was the preseason DPOY, and without stats to bolster this point, I have to figure that at least some of the coaches will vote for him again here, and the fact that he’s one of just five Hoyas to start all 16 matches this season has to help him. Creighton’s Akeem Ward had two DPOW’s to his credit, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get this, however.....
Goalkeeper of the Year: Paul Kruse, Creighton
.... I’m giving this one to the keeper behind the best defense in the league. Kruse is allowing about a goal every other game, and he’s been better in league play than for the whole season together. He has the second best save percentage in the league as well, trailing only Marquette’s Luis Barraza, which means that Kruse has played a major part in the Jays rising to the top of the table this season.
Freshman of the Year: Skage Simonsen, St. John’s
I think there’s a very strong possibility that Kruse pulls this one, too, and it would be well warranted. However, I wanted to spread the awards around a bit, and there’s a legitimate case for Simonsen. It’s a pretty simple one: He’s second to Koenig in points in league matches, and the only other player with double digit points against Big East foes. That might change by the time Thursday morning rolls around as there’s a five-way tie for third at eight points, but I’m making the picks now, and Advantage: Simonsen.
Coach of the Year: Elmar Bolowich, Creighton
This isn’t hard.
All-Big East Team
Derek Dodson, F, Georgetown
Brandon Guhl, F, Butler
Simen Hestnes, M, Xavier
Sven Koenig, F, Creighton
Paul Kruse, GK, Creighton
Brandon McDonough, D, Georgetown
Luka Prpa, M, Marquette
Joel Rydstrand, M, Creighton
Patrick Seagrist, D, Marquette
Akeem Ward, D, Creighton
Istvan Wilhelms, M, DePaul
Almost all of these guys have been mentioned here already, so this should have been pretty obvious for you to figure out where I was going. Dodson, Guhl, and Prpa are the new names, and they’re all amongst the league leaders in points in one way or another, so they’re pretty obvious picks to fill out the ranks. There were a lot of points coming out of the midfield this season in the Big East, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the coaches vote more midfielders onto the team than the four I have here. It all depends on whether or not they’re required to vote based on positions, which I require of myself out of fairness to everyone in the league.