On Wednesday, the Big East announced the results of the preseason coaches polling for men’s lacrosse for the 2020 season. In terms of what we’re here to primarily talk about on this website, this is going to be a pretty short discussion, as the coaches have Marquette slotted in to finish fifth in the six team league this year. In addition to that, there are no Golden Eagles on the preseason all-conference team.
#BIGEASTmlax Preseason Poll and Honors Are In!@DU_MLAX is the preseason favorite and Pioneer attack Ethan Walker is Offensive Player of the Year, while @HoyasMLacrosse' Gibson Smith is Defensive Player of the Year.— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) January 22, 2020
- https://t.co/PX9TGymi8X pic.twitter.com/IXbdcJbDEq
Here’s the full rundown on the team poll, so you don’t have to click into the tweet to see it:
This should not be terribly surprising to you.
Marquette finished last season with an overall record of 6-8 and they went 2-3 in Big East play and missed the conference tournament. After that wrapped up, the Golden Eagles lost 57.6% of their goals and 60% of their assists by way of graduations, and on top of that, head coach Joe Amplo departed to take the same job at the Naval Academy. Even if Amplo had stayed, this season was probably not going to be a picnic for Marquette in terms of how that preseason poll shook out.
Quite honestly, I’m surprised that the Golden Eagles finished above St. John’s there. It appears that St. John’s got all five last place votes possible for them to earn, as the coaches can’t vote for their own teams, and it appears that Marquette was picked second to last by everyone except on the ballot from St. John’s, where they would have come in last. I mean, yeah, St. John’s finished last year 4-10 overall and 0-5 in the league, but they’re returning guys who had a legitimate case for the preseason all-league team — including Mike Madsen who actually made it there — and Marquette is most definitely not doing that.
Here’s how the other voting shook out.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Ethan Walker, Denver
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Gibson Smith, Georgetown ^
Preseason All-Big East Team
Will Vitton, Villanova, So., GK ^
Ethan Walker, Denver, Sr., A ^
Jake Carraway, Georgetown, Sr., A ^
Keegan Khan, Villanova, Jr., A ^
Tim Hinrichs, Providence, Sr., M
Mike Madsen, St. John’s, Sr., M
Connor Kirst, Villanova, Sr., M ^
Gibson Smith, Georgetown, Jr., D ^
Patrick Kennedy, Villanova, RS-Jr., D ^
Colin Squires, Denver, Sr., D ^
Danny Logan, Denver, Sr., SSDM ^
Brett Boos, Denver, So., FOS ^
The little carrots there mark which guys were unanimous choices, and given that it’s 10 of the 12 guys there, it should not be surprising to you that I managed to get 11 of my 12 picks correct in our preseason predictions article. The only miss is Tim Hinrichs, and I was basically tossing a coin between him and Villanova’s Matt Campbell anyway.
I do take slight issue with Ethan Walker getting the preseason OPOY nod here, but only slightly. Georgetown’s Jake Carraway is the leading returning scorer in the Big East this season, and this award does rightfully belong to him. However, if you believe that Denver is going to win the league this season and you want to vote for a Pioneer in one of the two individual award spots, then Walker is definitely the right pick. As you can see, Gibson Smith was a unanimous choice for DPOY, so shifting to a Pio for OPOY was the only way to go. I lean towards basing OPOY completely on last year’s production, which is why I went with two Hoyas in the individual spots but still picked Denver to win the league.
Marquette opens up the 2020 season, the first under new head coach Andrew Stimmel, on Saturday, February 1, with a visit to Cleveland State. The Golden Eagles have already played one scrimmage/exhibition against Ohio State, Stimmel’s alma mater, and will see preseason action this coming Saturday against both Johns Hopkins and Richmond to wrap up the exhibition slate.
You can check out the league’s full press release on the preseason awards right here.