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2016 Big East men’s soccer preview

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: August 24, 2016

Big East

2015 Conference Honors
Offensive Player of the Year: Fabian Herbers, Creighton
Midfielder of the Year: Timo Pitter, Creighton
Defensive Player of the Year: Joshua Yaro, Georgetown
Co-Goalkeepers of the Year: Dallas Jaye, Xavier/Connor Sparrow, Creighton
Freshman of the Year: James Marcinkowski, Georgetown

2015 Teams (overall, conference records)

Georgetown (16-2-3, 9-0)

After running the table in the Big East last year, this year is set to look very, very different for the Hoyas. Six players are gone, with all six in either USL or MLS. There is returning talent to count on – headline by Arun Basuljevic, who could thrive in a dominant midfield role, goalkeeper James Marcinkowski is one of the premier young ‘keepers in the country, with support provided by seniors Brett Campbell and Bakie Goodman. While a drop off can be expected, Georgetown does have intriguing players such as Achara, Davey Mason and Dylan Nealis coming in that can provide an immediate impact.

Creighton (19-4, 7-2)

Like Georgetown, Creighton faces a number of significant departures. That’s nothing new to head coach Elmar Bolowich, who seems to be able to get his teams to the College Cup every year. Returning players Ricardo Perez and Lucas Stauffer give the team something to build on in the midfield, with the latter the only returning player to start every game a year prior. Bolowich is likely to mix in some quality newcomers from abroad, and Virginia transfer Riggs Lennon is an experienced DI veteran.

Providence (8-7-3, 4-4-1)

With both Creighton and Georgetown coming back down to the rest of the pack, the Friars are one of a handful of teams more than capable of making a run. Mac Steeves and Julian Gressel combined to scored 18 goals and add 13 assists between the two of them. That duo is likely to power the team once again, as both enter their senior seasons at Providence eager to make a repeat run at a College Cup spot.

Xavier (12-6-1, 5-3-1)

Another team in the conference more than capable of ripping off a run, the Musketeers are anchored by one of the best defenders in college soccer, Kiwi defender Cory Brown. Most of the goals are back, as Matt Vasquenza and Majed Osman were first and second on the team in 2015. There's a real good chance that Xavier ends up making a run in either the regular season or in the playoffs.

Butler (10-4-4, 6-3)

Add the Bulldogs to the mix of possible contenders. David Goldsmith, a consistent goal scorer since coming to Butler, missed some time a season ago due to injury, and can help propel this team into contention. He’s far from the most experienced player returning, as Butler also brings back Charlie Constantino, Eric Dick, Marco Charalambou, Jared Timmer and Mitch Ostrowski. The one key question is replacing the goals Vincent Mitchell provided in 2015.

Villanova (9-8, 4-5)

Despite losing its leading scorer from last season in Sean Sheridan, the Wildcats look like a team capable of maintaining the momentum of last year’s solid season. A young group of incoming talent includes Nikkye De Point and Sean Teixera that will bolster the returning players like Padraic McCullaugh, Will Steiner and Max Kroschwitz. Then the onus is on the group improving and developing into a contending team as the season moves along.

Marquette (5-10-2, 1-7-1)

Injuries bogged down Marquette a season ago, so the prospect of getting back into the mix in 2016 is sure to spur them on. Midfielder Louis Bennett II elected to bypass his final year of eligibility to sign with Anorthosis Famagusta FC in Cyprus, joining former teammate C. Nortey in the pro ranks. Bennett’s departure leaves an unexpected hole to fill, but with the returning talent like John Pothast, Martin Alba and Luis Barraza back, and newcomers like Luka Prpa and Jan Maertins added to the fold, the Golden Eagles will be one of many Big East teams to improve this season.

St. John's (4-11-3, 2-5-2)

Overseas players are starting to take over the Red Storm roster, making the New York side an unpredictable wildcard in the Big East stack. Wilhelm Nilsson, Alistair Johnston, Olli Pirinen, Matt Forster and Thomas Mickoski are just a small portion of the incoming class looking to lead St. John’s back up the standings. Italian forward Filippo Ricupati is the top returning scorer, although he managed just three on the season. Improving in the final third after scoring 13 goals a year ago would go a long way in boosting the team into contention.

DePaul (5-13-1, 4-4-1)

A poor non-conference record (1-9) overshadowed what was a decent Big East campaign for the Blue Demons. Senior forward Simon Megally is joined by Erik Rodriguez to lead the team’s offense once again. Getting off to a strong start is key here, after DePaul lost nine of its first 10 games last season, before bouncing back down the final stretch.

Seton Hall (0-15-1, 0-9)

Rebounding from a winless season has to be the main focus for the Pirates, which lost eight of those games by a one-goal deficit. It’ll have to hinge on success from a similar roster as last year, with just only two true freshmen on this year’s roster.

Related Topics: Big East
 
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