After knocking down some volleyball predictions on Monday, we turn our attention today to the other fall women’s team sport: SOCCER.
Enough with the preamble, let’s dig straight into some preseason picks.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Paige Monaghan, Butler
I disagreed with Monaghan as the OPOY at the end of last season for one very obvious reason: She didn’t have the most points in the league. There was a three-way tie when I made my picks before the season ended, and by the time it was over, my pick (Georgetown’s Rachel Corboz) was still in front of Monaghan. In any case, Monaghan is the best returning point getter in the league, recording 26 points on 10 goals and six assists. No one else that’s back in 2018 had more than 22 (DePaul’s Franny Cerny), so this should be an open and shut vote, especially after Monaghan was a unanimous choice at the end of 2017.
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Katie Day, Providence
Okay, look. I’m just swinging in the dark here. Last year’s DPOY was Elizabeth Wenger from Georgetown, and she was a senior. She was also the only woman to pick up more than one Defensive Player of the Week award, thus I don’t have any guidance on where else to go here.
Katie Day is one of two returning defensive players from last year’s All-Big East First Team. Day also earned two Weekly Honor Roll nods, making her the only returning defensive player to get more than one. She’s also a year ahead of Butler’s Annika Schmidt, and when in doubt, give the award to the senior.
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Arielle Schechtman, Georgetown
And thus, my yearly feud with Dave Nolan and the Hoyas continues. ATTENTION COACH NOLAN AND THE GEORGETOWN ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT STAFF: STOP LABELING YOUR PLAYERS ON YOUR ROSTER BASED ON THEIR ACADEMIC STANDING. Last year, Arielle Schechtman was listed as a senior. AND YET, SOMEHOW, she’s back for another season as a graduate student on the roster. Just list her according to her NCAA eligibility year, for crying out loud. Some of us are TRYING to pay attention to your sport and give it all the discussion that we can, and you’re really putting a damper on that by making me do a lot of extra running around to figure out if your players are coming back or not.
At least I’m savvy to their tricks at this point and can’t be taken by surprise when Schechtman MIRACULOUSLY shows up on the all-BE team when it’s announced.
ANYWAY, Schechtman was the GKOTY at the end of last season, so she’s the easy choice here. Schechtman had the best goals-against average (0.31) out of any regular starting keeper in the league last season, as only Butler part-timer Leonie Doege (0.26) beat her out, but Doege played half as many minutes as her Hoya counterpart. Same goes for save percentage, where both of BU’s netminders were better, but again, Schechtman gets the credit for being the full-time keeper for Georgetown.
Preseason All-Big East Team
Ryley Bugay, M, Marquette
Amanda Carolan, F, Georgetown
Franny Cerny, F, DePaul
Katie Day, D, Providence
Taryn Jakubowski, M, Creighton
Carrie Madden, F, Marquette
Paige Monaghan, F, Butler
Meghan Nally, D, Georgetown
Arielle Schechtman, GK, Georgetown
Annika Schmidt, D, Butler
Kayla Steeves, M, Providence
Monaghan, Day, and Schechtman are all automatics thanks to their individual awards. Cerny, Carolan, Madden, and Schmidt all get in on the back of their All-Big East First Team nods last season, while Steeves and Nally were second teamers and fill in needed spots.
That gave me four forwards (while leaving out First Team forward Caitlin Farrell, who ended up losing out to Madden on a points per game tiebreaker here) and three defenders, but just one midfielder. I could have gone with more forwards, but I like picking a balanced team for these preseason awards. Thus, I turn to Bugay and Jakubowski, the only returning midfielders who picked up Weekly Honor Roll nods last year. Yes, it’s a very thin explanation, but we’ve got to get to 11 players somehow.
Top Five Teams
I mean, the Hoyas have a league high three players on my all-Big East team, and having the best goalkeeper and one of the three best defenders is a pretty strong way to start things out. They seem like the easy choice to win the league again this season, but Butler’s probably going to be right behind them, just like they did last year when they finished one point shy of first place. If the combination of Leonie Doege and Hannah Luedtke can recapture the magic they had in net last season, the Bulldogs are going to be a force to reckon with again.
Marquette went through a few things last year, taking on some quite surprising losses in league play, but if Markus Roeders’ non-conference scheduling tells us anything, it’s that he expects big things from his team this year. Providence will likely be kicking around the top of the table between Day and Shelby Hogan returning in net after a stellar freshman season that earned her a all-conference Second Team spot. That leaves us with DePaul in the five-spot, pretty much because they’re they only team out of the remaining six that I trust to end up in the top half of the league, even though they lost Alexa Ben from last year.