The Big East announced the 2019 preseason awards for women’s soccer on Thursday, and as expected, it was not a banner day for Marquette.
The good news is that MU sophomore Katrina Wetherell was named as one of the three midfielders on the 11 woman all-Big East team. The medium news is that Wetherell is Marquette’s only representative on the all-conference team. The bad news is that Marquette is picked to finish eighth in the league this season, earning 34 points to finish well ahead of ninth place Creighton (20 points) and 10th place Seton Hall (9 points), which earned every single last place vote available.
⚽️ #BIGEASTwsoc Preseason Coaches' Poll ⚽️— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) August 8, 2019
Coming off their second College Cup appearance in three years, @HoyasWSoc unanimously picked as BIG EAST favoriteshttps://t.co/reg2wQr5Nh pic.twitter.com/HyUW4c1dHe
None of this should be particularly surprising to you.
Marquette finished 4-11-3 a year ago, marking the first ever losing season under head coach Markus Roeders. Wetherell was the only Golden Eagle to earn all-conference honors at the end of last season, landing a spot on the All-Big East Second Team. Given the struggles that MU had a year ago, you can understand why the conference’s coaches did not enter into their voting with a positive mindset about the Golden Eagles. The question marks are all there: No proven scorers, shaky defense, a young team with just three seniors along with a junior/redshirt junior group that didn’t contribute much in terms of minutes played last season.
With that said, there’s reason for belief that Marquette will out-perform their eighth place prediction. MU’s biggest problem last season was ultimately consistency. Only four players started every match — all of whom return for 2019 — and only nine appeared in every match. To a certain extent, you can’t fault Roeders for struggling to come up with lineup combinations that worked given that he was unable to start the same eleven from match to match. It’s reasonable to think there’s a chance that the lineup re-jiggering has established a solid baseline of what to expect from the roster this year, and things could move forward from there.
Let’s focus on Wetherell, shall we?
The 5’8” Arizona native was one of the four players to start all 18 matches a year ago, and was one of five Golden Eagles to play at least 1,400 minutes. She finished tied for second on the team in points in 2018 thanks to a team high four assists. Wetherell ended up with the most shots on the squad a year ago as well as the most shots on goal. It only turned into one marker on the year, a largely meaningless last second goal in a 3-2 loss to Villanova. Wetherell was the first ever Marquette freshman to earn All-Big East First Team or Second Team honors. Given the quality of the squads that Roeders has guided in the league during his tenure as head coach, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for Wetherell.
Moving on to the other Big East awards handed out....
If you read our prognostications article, then these three awards should not be a surprise to you. I didn’t pick Dewey as my OPOY, but the fact of the matter is that she had the most points in 2018 out of any player returning to the Big East this year, so that’s a no-brainer. Same goes for Nally and Hogan in terms of their qualifications, which is why they were my picks in those spots.
Here’s the rundown for the preseason all-conference team, with the asterisks marking the six unanimous choices.
Anja Savich, Butler, So., F
Annika Schmidt, Butler, R-Sr., D*
Taryn Jakubowski, Creighton, Sr., M*
Paula Germino-Watnick, Georgetown, Sr., F*
Kelly Ann Livingstone, Georgetown, Jr., D
Meaghan Nally, Georgetown, Sr., D*
Katrina Wetherell, Marquette, So., M
Shelby Hogan, Providence, R-Jr., GK
Hannah McNulty, Providence, Jr., F
Zsani Kajan, St. John’s, R-Jr., F*
Samantha Dewey, Xavier, R-Sr., M*
That right there is an impressive 9-for-11 connection rate on my preseason all-league team. The misses were Wetherell, as I went with Georgetown’s Grace Nguyen instead with both women earning Second Team honors last year, and Livingstone. I picked my team completely from last year’s all-Big East teams, and Livingstone wasn’t on the list at the end of last season. I’m not sure why the Big East coaches favored her now over players that they preferred at the end of 2018, but that’s their choice.
You can check out the full press release on the preseason awards right here.