Aug 13, 2013
NEW YORK - Georgetown, the 2012 NCAA national runner-up, has been picked to the win the 2013 BIG EAST men's soccer regular-season championship by a vote of the league's head coaches.
Villanova, meanwhile, was picked to finish sixth in the balloting while the Wildcats also landed a pair of student-athletes, senior Dylan Renna and junior Oscar Umar, on the pre-season All-BIG EAST unit.
Georgetown forward Steve Neumann was named Preseason BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Last year, he was second in the BIG EAST in scoring with 34 points and first in assists with 13. He was named the 2012 College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Marquette's Axel Sjoberg and St. John's Tim Parker shared Preseason BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rafael Diaz of St. John's was named Preseason BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Georgetown edged Creighton in the preseason poll 79 points to 74 points. The Hoyas received seven first-place votes while the Bluejays had three. Neumann and forward teammate Brandon Allen were both unanimous selections on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Allen, the 2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, led the league in scoring with 16 goals and two assists for 34 points. He tallied 10 game-winning goals. The Hoyas finished 19-4-3 overall and 6-2 in BIG EAST play. The BIG EAST was comprised of two divisions in 2012 and the Hoyas tied for first in their division.
Creighton also advanced to last year's College Cup where they lost in the semifinals. The Bluejays were 17-4-3 overall in 2012 and won their conference regular-season and tournament titles for a second straight year. Creighton placed midfielder Timo Pitter and back Eric Miller on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Pitter led the team with 10 goals and 24 points last season as a freshman. His goal total was the most by a CU freshman in 22 years. Miller has been part of a defense that yielded only one goal in each of the past two conference regular seasons.
Marquette was picked for third place with 63 points. The Golden Eagles placed three players on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, Sjoberg, midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka and forward C. Nortey. Though a defender, the 6-7 Sjoberg was second on the team with eight goals last year and helped MU tie a school record with 10 shutouts. Ciesiulka, who was a unanimous all-conference selection, is the team's active career leader in points with 33 and was named CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team last year.
St. John's was placed fourth by the coaches. Diaz posted eight shutouts for the Red Storm and compiled a 10-5-4 record. Parker, a unanimous pick for the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, played every minute of the season while earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.
Xavier was slotted for fifth place. The Musketeers were represented by back Nick Hagglund and midfielder Matt Walker on the all-conference squad. Hagglund was his conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and was the first Xavier player in school history to earn all-America honors by the NSCAA. Walker scored five goals in the last four regular-season matches a year ago and posted career highs with 11 goals and 10 assists.
Villanova was picked for sixth place. Midfielder Oscar Umar and forward Dylan Renna represented the Wildcats on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Umar was third on the team in scoring with four goals and three assists for 11 points.
Butler was selected seventh, followed by Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul. Seton Hall put forward George Velasquez on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. He led the Pirates in scoring last year with four goals and two assists for 10 points.
In 2013, the BIG EAST will consist of 10 teams and play a nine-game league schedule in one division. The BIG EAST has added three new members, Butler University, Creighton University and Xavier University. The BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship will begin with the opening round on campuses on Nov. 12. Six teams will qualify for the championship. The No. 3 seed will play the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will play the No. 5 seed in the opening round. The top two seeds will receive byes to the semifinals and championship game to be played on Nov. 15 & 17.
2013 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Georgetown (7) 79
2. Creighton (3) 75
3. Marquette 63
4. St. John's 59
5. Xavier 49
6. Villanova 42
7. Butler 24
8. Providence 25
9. Seton Hall 18
10. DePaul 17
2013 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year - Steve Neumann, Georgetown
Preseason Defensive Players of the Year - Axel Sjoberg, Marquette
Tim Parker, St. John's
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year - Rafael Diaz, St. John's
*Brandon Allen, So., Georgetown
*Steve Neumann, Sr., Georgetown
C. Nortey, So., Marquette
George Velasquez, Sr., Seton Hall
Dylan Renna, Sr., Villanova
Timo Pitter, So., Creighton
*Bryan Ciesiulka, Sr., Marquette
Oscar Umar, Jr., Villanova
Matt Walker, Sr., Xavier
Eric Miller, Jr., Creighton
Axel Sjoberg, So., Marquette
*Tim Parker, So., St. John's
Nick Hagglund, Sr., Xavier
Rafael Diaz, So., St. John's
*denotes unanimous selection
Note: Because of a tie in the voting, a position at forward was added. There was a tie for Defensive Player of the Year.