The Big East women’s soccer regular season wraps up with the final five matches of the year on Thursday. The conference tournament then gets started on Sunday, so it seems very likely that we’re going to get postseason awards very quickly there after. As such, we need to make our picks before the matches end.
These are those picks. They’re based in a certain amount of logic, understanding of how the coaches tend to vote over the years, and then a nice dash of guesswork, too.
Offensive Player of the Year: Amanda Carolan, Forward, Georgetown
Traditionally, I tend to go with “leading in points for the year? You get the award” when it comes to OPOY. However, I have learned the hard way over the years that the Big East coaches favor what happens in the nine match league schedule over what happens over the entirety of the regular season. If I went “leading for the year” here, it’s Xavier’s Samantha Dewey edging out Carolan, 29-26 heading into the final match day.
However..... Carolan has 13 points in Big East play, and Dewey has just eight. Dewey has just four of her 13 goals in league play and none of her four assists. Carolan is tied for the league play lead with Marquette’s Alyssa Bombacino, and while I don’t think Bombacino is coming anywhere near this award, Carolan is second in points to Dewey for the whole year, so I’m going with the Hoya here.
Defensive Player of the Year: Grace Bahr, M/D, Xavier
Three Defensive Player of the Week nods for the 5’5” senior from Broadview Heights, Ohio, means that Bahr led the league in that category, so we’ll give her the year long award. That Midfielder/Defender classification might end up throwing a snag, so I’m prepared for Butler’s Annika Schmidt (two DPOTW awards) to get this.
Midfielder of the Year: Samantha Dewey, Xavier
This has a slight snag to it, as Xavier’s roster says that Dewey is a forward. However, every time she’s come up in the Big East weekly awards — five Honor Roll appearances, more than anyone else in the league — Dewey has been listed as a midfielder. This is a more than suitable make-good on missing out on OPOY for Dewey as well.
Goalkeeper of the Year: Stephanie Rodriguez, Butler
Rodriguez has the best goals-against average in league play (0.35) this season, and she has the best goals-against average amongst regular starters (0.73) in the league for the entire season. Providence’s Shelby Hogan has an argument here, as she has the best save percentage in the league and the second best full-timer GAA, but at the end of the day, you have to give the nod to the team that has a chance to win the regular season title.
Freshman of the Year: Skylar Heinrich, Forward, Creighton
This is a tough one as I try to decide between two women who have picked up three Freshman of the Week awards. On one hand you have goalkeeper Anna Leat, who has earned 14 starts in net for Georgetown this year and has been relied on to propel the Hoyas along in the national conversation as well as towards a Big East title. On the other hand, you have Heinrich, who is third in the entire league in points and second in goals. I’m giving the nod to Heinrich here, as her role on a Jays team that’s trying to earn its first ever Big East tournament berth is much more important that Leat, who has sat in three matches this year and has merely had to hold up her end of the deal for the Hoyas.
Coach of the Year: Nate Lie, Xavier
This is my call at the moment, and I fully realize that what happens on Thursday might change that. Here’s the deal: Xavier is currently leading the Big East with 18 points. The Musketeers were picked to finish fourth this season. I think that no matter what happens, Lie is the safe bet as he has his squad in control of their destiny in terms of winning the title. However, at 17 points, Butler could end up passing them on Thursday night because they’re playing Xavier as luck would have it, at which point the Bulldogs would at worse tie with Georgetown for the title. Then I could see Tari St. John and Rob Alman, BU’s co-head coaches, getting the award here. There’s also the possibility that Georgetown gets BU and XU to draw and the Hoyas win the title, but they were the preseason pick and giving the trophy to Dave Nolan at that point is boring and lame.
All Big East Team
Grace Bahr, M/D, Xavier
Amanda Carolan, F, Georgetown
Samantha Dewey, M, Xavier
Paula Germino-Watnick, F, Georgetown
Skylar Heinrich, F, Creighton
Zsani Kajan, F, St. John’s
Brice McInroy, M, Villanova
Meghan Nally, D, Georgetown
Stephanie Rodriguez, GK, Butler
Annika Schmidt, D, Butler
Katie Soderstrom, M, Butler
Obviously, Carolan, Bahr, Dewey, and Rodriguez were automatic picks. Heinrich wasn’t in automatically on her individual award, but you can’t ignore that kind of production. Schmidt is a good candidate for DPOY, so she’s in easily, as is Nally to round out the defenders. Germino-Watnick, Kajan, and Soderstrom are all amongst the leaders in scoring that aren’t already on the team, so they fill in the forward and midfielder spots. That left me with one midfielder spot to go, and that went to McInroy pretty easily once I started looking. She had four Honor Roll appearances this year and is eighth in the league in points.