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NCAAM: Big East preseason poll, all-conference honors announced

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NEW YORK (Via BIG EAST Conference) – Creighton was picked by the men’s soccer coaches as the favorite to win the league in the 2016 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll released by the conference on Wednesday, 10 days before the start of the men’s soccer season.

Providence senior forward Mac Steeves was voted Preseason Offensive Player of the Year; Xavier junior defender Cory Brown was named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Georgetown sophomore JT Marcinkowski was selected as Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year.

Although the Bluejays came out on the top of the vote, three additional teams also received first-place votes: Georgetown, Providence and Xavier.  The Hoyas finished second in the preseason poll with 71 points and two first-place votes, three points shy of tying Creighton with 74 points and five votes for first place. Georgetown was last year’s regular-season and tournament champion. Both Creighton and Georgetown were ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association Top 25 with the Bluejays at No. 7 and Georgetown at No. 10.

Providence was selected third with 64 points and two first-place votes and Xavier rounded out the top four with 58 points and also a vote for first. Butler came in at fifth two points shy of Xavier with 56 points.

The top five picks by the coaches all participated in the BIG EAST Championship in 2015.

Villanova was picked sixth (39 points); while Marquette and St. John’s tied for seventh with 28 points each. Rounding out the bottom was DePaul with 22 points and Seton Hall with 10.

Steeves’ the BIG EAST coaches pick for Offensive Player of the Year was a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection in 2015 who finished third in the league in points and second in goals. The senior forward led the Friars with 28 points on 13 goals and two assists. He notched five game-winning goals and tallied three, two-goal games. Steeves enters the 2016 season tied for second all-time at Providence in career points (63) and goals (27). He was the BIG EAST’s representative on the MAC Hermann Trophy Award Watch List in late July.

Brown, the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year selection, was also a linchpin of a defense that registered a team GAA of 0.89, which was the second-lowest mark in program history. One of the top defenders in college soccer, Brown appeared with the New Zealand U-20 team in the World Cup last spring. Brown started 18 times for the Musketeers in 2015, finishing fourth on team with 1,572 minutes logged in the backline. He registered two assists on the season and helped the Musketeers record nine shutouts. Brown started 18 times for the Musketeers in 2015, finishing fourth on team with 1,572 minutes logged in the backline. He registered two assists on the season and helped the Musketeers record nine shutouts.

The reigning BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, Marcinkowski, had a breakout rookie year for Georgetown in 2015 earning NSCAA Second Team All-Great Lakes Region and First Team All-BIG EAST honors. The BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year started all 21 games for the Hoyas, and posted a 0.69 GAA on the season totaling 63 saves. The freshman went 16-2-3 in the net and managed nine shutouts. He already ranks third in single-season shutouts and eighth in program history in career shutouts. Marcinkowski was also named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman squad.

Steeves and Brown were two of the three unanimous selections to the 12-member BIG EAST Preseason All-Conference Team. They are joined by Butler forward David Goldsmith. The preseason all-league team consisted of three forwards, five midfielders, three defenders and a goalkeeper. The vote includes an at-large selection.

Despite graduating BIG EAST standouts Fabian Herbers, Timo Pitter, Vincent Keller and Connor Sparrow, Creighton has reloaded with upper classmen led by Preseason All-BIG EAST honorees Ricardo Perez and Lucas Stauffer. Perez, a senior midfielder, leads Creighton returnees with six goals, four game-winners. He was an NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team honoree and a member of the 2015 BIG EAST Tournament Team.  Stauffer, a junior defender, started all 23 matches for the Bluejays in 2015 and added two goals and one assist in addition to helping Creighton to two BIG EAST shutouts. Perez and Stauffer will be backed by junior Ricky Lopez-Espin and Joel Rydstrand. Creighton brings in 12 newcomers, which includes a goalkeeper transfer from Boston College, four additional transfers and seven freshmen. Creighton racked up 19 wins in 2015 and finished play in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to Marcinkowski, No. 2 pick Georgetown had junior midfielder Arun Basuljevic on the preseason all-conference team. Basuljevic was a 2015 All-BIG EAST honoree who scored six goals with four assists with five game-winners. In league action, he had six points which included two game-winners. The Hoyas had six players enter major league soccer in 2015, which included Joshua Yaro, Brandon Allen, Keegan Rosenberry, Alex Muyl, Josh Turnley and Cole Seiler, either to draft or homegrown signees. The Hoyas went undefeated in league play last season and boasted a 16-2-3 record overall.

Providence had a league-best three selections to the preseason all-BIG EAST team, which included Steeves, as well as senior midfielders Julian Gressel and Dominic Machado. Gressel had 21 points in 2015, including three goals and a league-best seven assists in BIG EAST play. He is leading point scorer of all returners to the conference this year. He was also an NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Third Team honoree.  Machado had four points in league action and eight overall.

Fourth-place selection Xavier had two selections on the preseason all-conference team with junior forward Matt Vasquenza as well as unanimous pick Brown. Vasquenza had two goals on 15 shots in league play and five goals and an assist overall. He was also 2-for-2 in penalty kicks and added three game-winners for the Musketeers.

Butler, the coaches’ fifth-place pick, is led by returning senior forward David Goldsmith as the Bulldogs’ unanimous preseason all-league selection. Goldsmith finished 2015 third in the NCAA in goals per game with 11 goals. In BIG EAST play he scored four goals, two game-winners, en route to an All-BIG EAST second team selection. He was also a Third Team Academic All-American. The Bulldogs also return two sophomore middies in Marco Charalambous and Jared Timmer, who will help Goldsmith crossing the field.

Villanova adds a class of five freshman backs and mids to a seasoned group of vets led by seniors Pardraic McCullaugh and Max Kroschwitz. The Wildcats’ lost their leading scorer in BIG EAST First Team honoree Sean Sheridan who accounted for eight goals.

Marquette, tied for seventh with St. John’s, boasts senior defender John Pothast to the preseason all-league team. In addition to his defensive duties, Pothast added three assists in 2015. The Golden Eagles lost key players C. Nortey and Louis Bennett II to graduation, both of whom are playing professional soccer in Europe this coming year. However, Marquette returns Martin Alba and Daniel Jarosz to the pitch after both sitting out most of the season with injuries. Goalkeeper Luis Barraza is back in net for his second year of BIG EAST action. St. John’s has a large class of newcomers who will look to make an immediate impact. The Red Storm has 13 newcomers for 2016 adding to a now-veteran group that is led by sophomore forward Mike Prosuk who was a unanimous BIG EAST All-Freshman team selection. St. John’s also has a pair returning from injury in Andrea Previati and Simon Tchoukriel.

The sixth team in the BIG EAST Championship in 2015, DePaul returns Preseason All-BIG EAST selection senior midfielder Simon Megally. Megally had nine points (three goals, three assists) in conference play last season and earned All-BIG EAST Second Team as well as NSCAA Scholar All-Region team honors.  The Blue Demons also return Jake Scheper, who was an All-BIG EAST Freshman Team forward in 2015.

Seton Hall will be led by senior Danny Bartok who had four goals in 2015. Also returning are starters Andres Arcila and Alex Pozesky, both midfielders. The Pirates have a six-person incoming class of 2016 which includes four transfers and two freshman. The Pirates lost just three to graduation last season.

The BIG EAST Preseason Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll, major awards and all-conference selections are based on ballots cast by the league’s 10 head coaches, who cannot vote for their own team or student-athletes.

BIG EAST men’s soccer action kicks off on Aug. 26 with all 10 teams in action on that opening Friday. League play starts Saturday, Sept. 17. All five games will be streamed live on the BIG EAST Digital Network.

2016 Men’s Soccer Preseason Honors

Offensive Player of the Year
Mac Steeves, Providence, Sr., F

Defensive Player of the Year
Cory Brown, Xavier, Jr., D

Goalkeeper of the Year
JT Marcinkowski, Georgetown, So.

2016 Men’s Soccer Preseason All-BIG EAST #
David Goldsmith, Butler, Sr., F ^
Mac Steeves, Providence, Sr., F ^
Matt Vasquenza, Xavier, Jr., F
Julian Gressel, Providence, Sr., M
Arun Basuljevic, Georgetown, Jr., M
Ricardo Perez, Creighton, Sr., M
Dominic Machado, Providence, Sr., M
Simon Megally, DePaul, Sr., M
Cory Brown, Xavier, Jr., D ^
Lucas Stauffer, Creighton, Jr., D
John Pothast, Marquette, Sr., D
JT Marcinkowski, Georgetown, So., GK

2016 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First place votes in ( )
1. Creighton – 74 pts. (5)
2. Georgetown – 71 pts. (2)
3. Providence – 64 pts. (2)
4. Xavier – 58 pts. (1)
5. Butler – 56 pts.
6. Villanova – 39 pts.
T7. Marquette – 28 pts.
T7. St. John’s – 28 pts.
9. DePaul – 22 pts.
10. Seton Hall – 10 pts.

^ – denotes unanimous selection
# there is an extra player on the preseason All-BIG EAST team due to a tie in voting

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