BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Regular Season Awards announced
NEW YORK – All four teams who have qualified for the upcoming BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship are represented in the league’s regular season awards, which were announced by the conference on Wednesday prior to the semifinals.
Creighton senior forward Diego Gutierrez was named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, while Georgetown sophomore midfielder Dante Polvara was named BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year. Georgetown senior Rio Hope-Gund was named Defensive Player of the Year. Hoya junior Giannis Nikopolidis repeats as the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and Marquette forward Beto Soto was voted BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. Head coach Andreas Lindberg and the Seton Hall staff earned BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year accolades.
Georgetown is the overall No. 1 seed in this year’s championship which begins Thursday at the Hoyas’ home pitch, Shaw Field. Marquette earned the No. 1 seed from the Midwest Division and Seton Hall and Creighton are the No. 2 seeds from the East and Midwest, respectively.
Creighton’s Gutierrez tied for the lead in the BIG EAST with 16 points from five goals and six assists. His six assists ranked at the top of the conference and his goal total is tied for fourth. This was Gutierrez’s first season with the Bluejays, he spend 2017-19 at Nebraska Omaha where he scored 10 goals and assisted 13. Gutierrez is an Omaha native. Gutierrez’s 16 points ranks 22nd nationally and his six assists rank 12th. Gutierrez is the fifth Creighton player since 2014 to earn BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year awards.
Georgetown’s Polvara led the Hoyas in scoring this season with seven goals, two game winners and two assists for 16 points this season. The sophomore ranks 12th nationally in goals per game (.78), a BIG EAST best, and has two game-winners for the year. His most recent game-winner was in the regular-season finale against St. John’s which solidified the overall No. 1 seed for Georgetown. Polvara, also voted to the All-BIG EAST First Team, ranks 19th nationally in points per game (1.78), which leads the BIG EAST. Polvara, from Pleasantville, N.Y., is the second consecutive Midfielder of the Year honoree for Georgetown.
Last year, Jacob Montes earned the honor. Prior to Montes, Georgetown’s last Midfielder of the Year was Joey Dillon in 2013.
Hope-Gund is the fifth Georgetown player since 2014 to earn BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year accolades. The senior from New York, N.Y. helped anchor a back line that held opponents to just five goals all season, 60 shots (6.7 per game) and 30 shots on goal. Hope-Gund started all eight games for the Hoyas, who finished 7-0-2 this season with five shutouts. Georgetown’s goals against average ranked eighth nationally. Hope-Gund was also a member of the All-BIG EAST First Team.
Nikopolidis repeats as BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year after sharing the honor last season with St. John’s Jan Hoffelner. Nikopolidis, a junior from Athens, Greece, allowed just two goals in five games for a 0.31 goals-against average this season, which ranks fifth nationally. Nikopolidis minded the net behind an impressive defense and only had to make 15 saves. Nikopolidis had four shutouts this season, marking 17 for his career. His record this season was 5-0-1. Nikopolidis is also on the All-BIG EAST First Team for the second consecutive year. He was on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team in 2018.
Soto started in almost every game this year for Marquette. He scored three goals and dished out one assist in the regular season, tying for the league lead in goals amongst freshmen. Two of Soto’s goals were game-winners, including the season-opening win over Loyola Chicago. His second game-winning goal came at DePaul, as he scored his third goal in a 2-1 win at Creighton. Along with Freshman of the Year, Soto also earned All-BIG EAST Third Team accolades. Soto, a Houston, Texas native, is the second Golden Eagle to win BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honors. Luke Prpa won the award in 2016.
Seton Hall’s Coaching Staff, led by Andreas Lindberg in his third season with the Pirates, finished with a record of 5-1-2 in the East Division and 7-1-3 overall. The Pirates enter BIG EAST Championship week ranked 11th in the United Soccer Coaches national poll. Seton Hall was picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the East Division and instead finished second. For their efforts, the Pirates will be playing in their first BIG EAST semifinal game since 2014. This is the first BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year accolade for Lindberg, who came to Seton Hall in December 2017. It is the second Coaching Staff of the Year award for Seton Hall. Manfred Schellscheidt and his staff won in 2005.
Along with the regular season awards, the BIG EAST First, Second and Third Teams were announced. The First and Second Team are positional, plus one at-large selection each. The third team is made up of at-large selections. Coaches were not allowed to cast ballots for their own teams.
See below for a full listing of the award winners.
BIG EAST Regular Season Awards
Offensive Player of the Year
Diego Gutierrez, Creighton, Sr., F
Midfielder of the Year
Dante Polvara, Georgetown, So., M
Defensive Player of the Year
Rio Hope-Gund, Georgetown, Sr., D
Goalkeeper of the Year
Giannis Nikopolidis, Georgetown, Jr.
Freshman of Year
Beto Soto, Marquette, Fr., F
Coaching Staff of the Year
BIG EAST All-Conference Teams
|First Team *||Second Team||Third Team *|
|Wilmer Cabrera, Jr., Butler, So., F||Duncan McGuire, Creighton, R-Fr., F||Felix Metzler, UConn, Jr., D|
|Diego Gutierrez, Creighton, Sr., F||Lyam Mackinnon, Villanova, So., F||Jake Fuderer, DePaul, Jr., M|
|Derek Dodson, Georgetown, Sr., F||Karsen Henderlong, Xavier, So., F||Tim Iscra, DePaul, Sr., D|
|Lukas Sunesson, Marquette, Jr., F||Jack Haywood, Butler, Jr., M||Paul Rothrock, Georgetown, Sr., M|
|Tani Oluwaseyi, St. John’s, Jr., F||Callum Watson, Creighton, Jr., M||Will Sands, Georgetown, So., M/D|
|C.J. Tibbling, Seton Hall, Jr., F||Charles Auguste, Creighton, Jr., M||Zyan Andrade, Marquette, Jr., M|
|Jacob Montes, Georgetown, Sr., M||Sean Zawadzki, Georgetown, Jr., M||Chandler Hallwood, Marquette, RS-So., GK|
|Dante Polvara, Georgetown, So., M||Musa Qongo, Creighton, Sr., D||Beto Soto, Marquette, Fr., F|
|Paulo Lima, Providence, Jr., M||Alex Mirsberger, Marquette, RS-So., D||Gevork Diarbian, Providence, Fr., F|
|Rhys Myers, Butler, Sr., D||Ramzi Qawasmy, Providence, Jr., D||Luis Garcia, Providence, So., M|
|Rio Hope-Gund, Georgetown, Sr., D||Andreas Nota, Seton Hall, Sr., GK||Brandon Knapp, St. John’s, Jr., M|
|Luca Dahn, Seton Hall, Jr., D||Einar Lye, St. John’s, Jr., M|
|Giannis Nikopolidis, Georgetown, Jr., GK||JP Marin, Seton Hall, Jr., M|
|Johannes Pex, Seton Hall, So., D|
|Felix Boe Tangen, Xavier, So., F|
* due to ties in voting there are extra members on the All-BIG EAST Second and Third Teams