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Marquette Men’s Soccer Picked To Finish 5th In Big East Midwest Division

The addition of Akron as an affiliate member has prompted two six-team divisions going forward.

2022 Division I Men’s Soccer Semifinal
Creighton and Jackson Castro are the favorites in the Midwest Division.
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Big East announced the results of the preseason poll for the 2023 men’s soccer season on Tuesday morning, and after a 1-5-4 finish in league play last season, Marquette’s standing in the poll can’t come as much of a surprise. The league’s coaches — who could not vote for their own teams — collectively placed the Golden Eagles in fifth place in the six team Midwest Division. The addition of Akron as an affiliate member in men’s soccer brought the league to 12 teams and prompted the move to two divisions for 2023.

United Soccer Coaches has Creighton at #8 in the country in their preseason poll, so it’s no surprise that they’re the favorite in the Midwest Division. It’s not terribly surprising that Akron picked up some attention, as they’re #22 in the preseason top 25. But two votes, and another two votes going to Butler, AND the Bulldogs coming in second place in the poll, ahead of the Zips by two points? That’s kind of surprising. There’s a clear tier jump down from Butler and Akron to Xavier with 39 points, and then another to Marquette at 29, and then one more drop to DePaul at 17. MU lost to DePaul, 1-0, in Chicago last season, so it’s a nice compliment from the Big East coaches to put the Golden Eagles in front of the Blue Demons.

Preseason #17 Georgetown is the unanimous favorite in the East Division, picking up all 11 possible votes. GU head coach Brian Wiese cast his vote for Providence, which tracks along with the Friars earning some votes in the USC preseason poll. St. John’s and Seton Hall are neck-and-neck in the middle of the division with 40 and 36 points respectively, while Connecticut and Villanova tied for fifth place with 24 points.

The preseason individual honors went exactly as I called them when I made my award picks. Butler’s Palmer Ault snagged Offensive Player of the Year, Georgetown’s Kenny Nielsen is Defensive Player of the Year, and his netminder, Ryan Schewe, is the Goalkeeper of the Year. I thought there might be some drama around OPOY given that Ault wasn’t actually the returning top points guy from last season, but seeing as he was the only unanimous choice for the preseason all-Big East team, perhaps there wasn’t that much drama.

Here’s that preseason all-league team that coaches voted on:

Ryan Schewe, Sr., GK, Georgetown
Kenny Nielsen, Sr., D, Georgetown
Kieran Sargeant, Jr., D, Georgetown
Makel Rasheed, Sr., D, Xavier
Jackson Castro, Jr., M, Creighton
Giorgio Probo, Sr., M, Creighton
Luis Garcia, Grad., M, Providence
Dyson Clapier, So., F, Akron
Palmer Ault, So., F, Butler
Marlon Tabora, Sr., F, Georgetown
Gevork Diarbian, Sr., F, Providence

I went 8-for-11 on my picks, with two of my three misses coming because I gave a little too much credit to Akron’s best players from last season. Providence’s Luis Garcia is the beneficiary of my lean towards First Team All-MAC midfielder Malik Henry, while Georgetown’s Kieran Sargeant got in ahead of First Team All-MAC defender Will Jackson.

My other miss was going with Antek Sienkiel from St. John’s as a fourth midfielder, while the coaches tilted towards a fourth forward and gave the spot to Providence’s Gevork Diarbian. He was a Second Team honoree last season, just like Sienkiel, so it really came down to which position you wanted to have four players. Given that the Friars are earning preseason top 25 votes, you can’t really argue with the idea of giving the edge to a guy on the PC roster.