Hey, so, as the basketball season kicked off, the men’s soccer season was winding down. This led to the Big East announcing their 2018 postseason awards on November 2nd. You’ll NEVER BELIEVE THIS, but there just was never enough time in the day in the four days between then and the official start of hoops season — not to mention Marquette‘s electrifying run to the Big East championship match — to snap together an article about who won what award.
This was especially a problem for this here internet website, as MU senior Luis Barraza was named Big East Goalkeeper of the Year, which is pretty flipping great. Here’s the official league office write up on the New Mexico native:
Senior goalkeeper Barraza finished with the BIG EAST’s top save percentage (.885), while listing second in saves per game (5.75) and third in goals against average (0.77) and shutouts (3). Over eight league appearances he played nearly 700 minutes and surrendered just six goals. His overall season save percentage of 0.861 is second among all Division I keepers. Barraza is the first Goalkeeper of the Year out of Marquette since 2013 (Charlie Lyon).
Whatever flaws or injuries that hindered Barraza in his first three seasons for Marquette seemed to be completely absent in his final year as a Golden Eagle. He was truly masterful minding his net, and his vocal leadership presence on the pitch was readily evident. I had Creighton keeper Paul Kruse winning this award purely on the basis of having the lowest goals-against average in the league, but at the end of the day, the league’s coaches awarded the senior over the freshman, with an extra nod for being a driving force in returning Marquette to the top half of the Big East table. Also: I didn’t realize that Barraza had the second best save percentage IN THE COUNTRY until I read that press release. How wild is that??
It was a big year for Golden Eagles in the All-Big East honors department, as Barraza was joined on the First Team by juniors Luka Prpa and Patrick Seagrist. In addition to those three gents on the first XI, Connor Alba earned a spot on the Second Team, and Lukas Sunesson was a unanimous choice for the All-Freshman team.
This is the first time on the First Team for both Prpa and Seagrist, although it had been building for the past two years for Prpa. Racking up a point per game in league play was enough to propel Prpa to the squad, and his six goals on the season now that it’s completed lead the team, as do his 14 points. Seagrist exploded for three goals and six assists this season, with five points of that (1G, 3A) coming in Big East play. He’s been both a stellar defensive factor for the Golden Eagles as well as a dangerous speed demon on the left wing of MU’s formation.
Alba is honored by the league for the first time in his career. His tenacity in the middle of the pitch combined with his agility and speed helped Marquette’s offense develop opportunities on a regular basis. He officially finished with four goals and two assists, but who knows how many goals he contributed to merely by being someone that the defense had to mark inside of 25 yards?
It may be a while before we see a freshman detonate into the Marquette lineup like Lukas Sunesson. He had three goals in his first two matches ever in a blue and gold kit, and his energy and physicality made him a threat to score all the time even if he finished with just two more goals for the rest of the season. Both of those came during league play, and both came in wins that Marquette needed to secure their first conference tournament appearance since 2014.
Let’s turn our attention to the other awards, shall we?
Offensive Player of the Year: Sven Koenig, F, Creighton
Defensive Player of the Year: Dylan Nealis, D, Georgetown
Midfielder of the Year: Joel Rydstrand, M, Creighton
Freshman of the Year: Skage Simonsen, M, St. John’s
Coaching Staff of the Year: Creighton
Koenig, Rydstrand, Simonsen, and the Creighton staff were all the picks that I made in my awards prediction article, so those are the obvious picks. I’m kind of surprised by Nealis getting the DPOY here, and not because I had Seagrist as my pick. I figured that Georgetown’s Brendan McDonough would have a chance at shifting his preseason honor to a postseason honor, but the league’s coaches went in a different direction. As is tradition, I have nothing in particular to counter the decision made here for DPOY when I get it horribly wrong, so hats off to the coaches.
Here’s the All-League First Team:
Sven Koenig, Creighton, Sr., F
Derek Dodson, Georgetown, So., F
Achara, Georgetown, Jr., F
Simen Hestnes, Xavier, Sr., M
Joel Rydstrand, Creighton, Sr., M
Tiago Mendonca, Providence, R-Jr., M
Luka Prpa, Marquette, Jr., M
Akeem Ward, Creighton, Sr., D
Dylan Nealis, Georgetown, Jr., D
Patrick Seagrist, Marquette, Jr., D
Luis Barraza, Marquette, Sr., GK
Seven out of 11 ain’t bad, so a pat on the back for me. I’m not entirely sure what Achara and Mendonca did to deserve spots over Butler‘s Brandon Guhl or DePaul’s Istvan Wilhelms, but those are the choices that the league’s coaches made. Making it even weirder is the fact that neither of those guys made it onto the second team. Oh well. I did find it interesting that Koenig was the only unanimous choice amongst the entire 11 man group, and I have to say that is shocking on a lot of levels.
We’ll get you out of here on the Second Team and the All-Freshman Team.
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Connor Alba, Marquette, Jr., F
CJ Tibbling, Seton Hall, Fr., F
Sam Sergi, Xavier, R-Jr., F
Skage Simonsen, St. John’s, Fr., M
Kyle Zajec, Georgetown, Sr., M
Zach Zandi, Villanova, Sr., M
Brendan McDonough, Georgetown, Sr., D
Mitch LaGro, Creighton, R-Sr., D
Klisman Sousa, Providence, R-Sr., D
David Arvidsson, Seton Hall, Grad., D
Colin Miller, Providence, R-Sr., GK
Paul Kruse, Creighton, Fr., GK
BIG EAST All-Freshman Team
Lukas Sunesson, Marquette, Fr., F
CJ Tibbling, Seton Hall, Fr., F
Gil Santos, Providence, Fr., F
Skage Simonsen, St. John’s Fr., M
Jack Haywood, Butler, Fr., M
Sean Zawadzki, Georgetown, Fr., M
Ramzi Qawasmy, Providence, Fr., D
Paul Kruse, Creighton, Fr., GK
Giannis Nikopolidis, Georgetown, Fr., GK
Taylor Crull, Xavier, R-Fr., D
Tani Oluwaseyi, St. John’s Fr., F