On Wednesday, the Big East announced their preseason awards for men’s soccer in 2019. YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles ...... were picked to finish fourth in the conference this year, aka the exact same spot that they finished last season.
MU snagged 59 points in the polling, falling a bit shy of third place Providence with 65 points but well ahead of fifth place Xavier with 44 points. While the Golden Eagles came nowhere close to preseason favorite Georgetown and their 81 points, they did end up with a consolation prize. With coaches unable to vote for their own team, Hoyas head coach Brian Wiese had to cast his ballot for one of the other nine squads.... and he went with Marquette, thus making MU the only other team to earn a first place vote this year.
Clearly, not everyone shares Wiese’s optimism for Marquette. After removing the nine points for his first place vote, the other eight ballots average out to 6.25 points per vote. Seven points means third place, while six means fourth place. Generally speaking, Marquette’s votes were apparently hovering right around the spot that they ended up holding. I suppose there could be some rogue maniacs voting the Golden Eagles in second, but that would have to be balanced out with a much lower vote.
In addition to the team balloting, the league also announced their individual player preseason awards. Marquette did not come away with any of those this season, but seniors Luka Prpa and Patrick Seagrist were both included as a part of the 12 man preseason all-conference team. Why 12? Because sometimes there are ties in voting, that’s why.
Here’s what the league office had to say about their credentials:
Prpa was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection in 2018, earning all-league accolades for the third time. He scored six goals and six assists for 18 points. Seagrist was also an All-BIG EAST First Team honoree in 2018 and was BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week four times last season. Seagrist helped hold opponents to 1.21 goals per game and a 0.085 shot percentage. He also added five assists on the season.
Seagrist was active all over the pitch in Wednesday night’s exhibition victory over #9 Notre Dame, even if he didn’t log anything onto the stat sheet other than 77 minutes played. He was all over the place up and down the left sideline, sometimes batting the ball back and forth with keeper Cedrik Stern, and sometimes moving even at the top of the formation with forward Josh Coan. His speed and footwork is what makes him such a multidimensional player, and that’s why he’s one of the best players in the Big East this year.
Prpa, on the other hand, has yet to appear in either of Marquette’s two exhibition matches. A little bit curious, of course, as soccer does have a strong continuity element to team success. However, if Prpa’s absence is merely the product of some preseason load management or merely to give other guys on the roster a chance to show what they can do, then all of this makes sense.
Let’s talk about the rest of the preseason honors.
As expected, the league’s coaches voted for Georgetown’s Dylan Nealis as Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Creighton’s Paul Kruse as Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. We talked about it in our predictions article, but both men were the seemingly obvious choice for the honor. The coaches went in a slightly different direction than I did for Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, giving that one to Georgetown’s Derek Dodson. It’s not a bad choice, especially given the Hoyas as preseason favorite. However, Xavier’s Samson Sergei had the most points out of anyone returning to the league from last season, so that’s why he was my pick for OPOY.
Here’s the full rundown on the 12 man all-conference squad:
^ Derek Dodson, Georgetown, Jr., F
Achara, Georgetown, Sr., F
C.J. Tibbling, Seton Hall, So., F
Samson Sergi, Xavier, RS-Sr., F
Luka Prpa, Marquette, Sr., M
Skage Simonsen, St. John’s, So., M
Tiago Mendonca, Providence, Sr., M
Jared Timmer, Butler, Sr., M
^ Dylan Nealis, Georgetown, Sr., D
Patrick Seagrist, Marquette, Sr., D
Max de Bruijne, DePaul, Sr., D
Paul Kruse, Creighton, So., GK
As you can see from the carrots, Dodson and Nealis were the only unanimous choices amongst the 12 honorees. That’s a little bit surprising, as nine of the 12 were on my preseason all-conference team, and for the most part, those were easy choices for me.
My misses were not surprises: Tibbling, Timmer, and de Bruijne. One of them — Timmer, honestly — is the extra man, as I stuck with an 11 man team. I had Butler’s Brandon Guhl beating out Tibbling up top on the crazy basis of “scored more points than him last year.” Providence’s Ramzi Qawasmy was a total guess on my part on defense, and de Bruijne is just as good of a pick instead of him, all things considered.
Marquette will play one more exhibition game before starting the regular season. Milwaukee Torrent, the local NPSL franchise, will be at Valley Fields for a friendly on Sunday, August 25th, with first kick set for 3pm Central time. The regular season starts on Friday, August 30th, when UAB comes to the Valley. First kick for that one is scheduled for 7pm Central.