With the start of the 2018 season exactly one week away, the Big East launched into action on Thursday afternoon with the release of the preseason honors for women’s soccer. YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles were picked to finish third in the league this season, while redshirt senior forward Carrie Madden is MU’s lone representative on the all-conference squad.
Madden was a unanimous choice for the all-conference team, one of just three players to earn that distinction. The Illinois native led Marquette in points (19) and goals (7) in 2017, including three game-winners in Big East play. Madden ended up tied for fifth in points in the Big East last year and was one of just 10 women to tally at least seven goals. She was an all-Big East First Teamer last season and earned a nod on the all-conference tournament team as well.
Here’s the official rundown for the team voting.
1. Georgetown, 81 points (9 first place votes)
2. Butler, 72 (1)
3. Marquette, 59
4. Providence, 55
5. DePaul, 52
6. St. John’s, 38
7. Xavier, 34
8. Villanova, 31
9. Creighton, 18
10. Seton Hall, 10
As the easy voting math will tell you, the Big East coaches are in near perfect lockstep on the top two teams in the league. All nine coaches that aren’t employed by Georgetown voted for the Hoyas as the preseason favorite, with Dave Nolan’s vote going to Butler, since he can’t vote for his own squad. That means Butler’s maximum possible point total was 73 (8 second place votes at eight points each + Nolan’s nine points). Since Butler earned 72 points, that means seven of the eight coaches have the Bulldogs in second.
It’s a pretty steep drop from Butler to Marquette, particularly when you consider the MU/Providence/DePaul cluster in the 3-5 spots. Just seven points separate the three teams, so there’s clearly no consensus on who the third best team in the league actually is. With just six spots available in the Big East tournament in late October, Marquette, Providence, and DePaul are going to need to make sure they take care of business against the bottom half of the league in order to clinch a home game in the quarterfinals.
One last note: I am impressed that someone voted Seton Hall somewhere other than DFL (1 point for a last place vote, nine voters = 9 points, and they got 10). The Pirates have not won a match since October 9, 2016, giving them a winless streak of 21 straight games which includes 12 shutouts. I feel bad for the team that got voted in last behind the Pirates.
Let’s move on to the individual player honors.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Paige Monaghan, Butler
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Meaghan Nally, Georgetown
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Arielle Schechtman, Georgetown
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on these, as Monaghan and Schechtman were the obvious picks (as seen in our preseason picks article), and picking a top defensive player is a crapshoot when it’s not a senior that won DPOY the year before. I will note that it’s a little unfair to merely slot Nally into Elizabeth Wenger’s spot and pass over Providence’s Katie Day and Butler’s Annika Schmidt merely because Nally wears Hoya gray and blue.
On to the all-league team!
Paige Monaghan, Butler, Sr., F*
Annika Schmidt, Butler, R-Jr., D
Franny Cerny, DePaul, Sr., F*
Amanda Carolan, Georgetown, Sr., F
Caitlin Farrell, Georgetown, Sr., F
Meaghan Nally, Georgetown, Jr., D
Arielle Schechtman, Georgetown, Grad., GK
Carrie Madden, Marquette, R-Sr., F*
Katie Day, Providence, Sr., D
Kayla Steeves, Providence, Sr., M
Christina Bellero, St. John’s, Sr., F
Samantha Dewey, Xavier, R-Jr., F
The asterisks mark the three unanimous choices on the 12 player squad (there was a tie in there somewhere, thus explaining why it’s not 11), and I can’t argue with Monaghan, Cerny, or Madden getting votes from all nine coaches that aren’t their own. I can, however, argue with why they’re the only three. Schechtman, Day, Schmidt, and Carolan were all First Team honorees at the end of the 2017 campaign, and you would think that anyone voting for this kind of thing would start their all-league team with them. Quite obviously, that’s not the case, as at least one coach left each of them off the ballot. So weird, especially for Carolan, who finished fourth in the league in points, one spot ahead of Madden.
For whatever reason, the Big East coaches went forward-heavy on this squad, naming just one midfielder to the all league team. Rather conveniently for me, the lone midfielder on the team, Providence’s Kayla Steeves, was on my preseason squad, and I even mentioned that I barely ended up excluding Georgetown’s Caitlin Farrell. When the coaches don’t evenly distribute the players by position, I can’t be held responsible for my misses.
Marquette starts the 2018 season on Thursday, August 16th, on a trip to the middle of California coastline to play Cal Poly. The Big West hasn’t released their preseason honors quite yet, it seems, but the Mustangs went 7-9-3 last year.
You can read the entire preseason awards press release right here.