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COLLEGE SOCCER

August 7, 2012
BIG EAST PRESEASON MEN'S POLL
UConn picked first, Provi 5th


PROVIDENCE, R.I.- St. Johnís was selected as the Big East Red Division favorite, while Connecticut was chosen to win the Big East Blue Division in the 2012 Big East Preseason Menís Soccer Coachesí Poll.

The votes were cast by the leagueís 15 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players. Both teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, with Connecticut reaching the quarterfinals, while the Red Storm reached the second round after winning the Big East Championship title.

Connecticut junior forward Mamadou Diouf was selected as Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and earned unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Conference Team. Louisvilleís Andrew Farrell, a junior, and Georgetown senior Jimmy Nealis earned Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year, while Andre Blake, a sophomore from Connecticut, was a unanimous selection as Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year.

Georgetownís Steve Neumann was the other unanimous Preseason All-Conference selection.

In the Red Division, St. Johnís received six first-place votes to tally 94 points. The Red Storm were chosen as the preseason favorite in their division after winning the Big East Championship title last year. St. Johnís defeated Connecticut 1-0 in the championship final at Red Bull Arena. The squad advanced to earn the No. 9 seed in the NCAA Championship, earning a bye to the second round, where the Red Storm hosted Brown. St. Johnís will be led by Preseason All-Conference selections Tim Parker and Jack Bennett. Bennett was the Offensive MVP of the Big East Championship last season.

In the Blue Division, Connecticut is the preseason favorite with 91 points. The Huskies earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Championship and finished the year with a 19-3-3 overall record. UConn had a first-round bye and defeated Monmouth and James Madison at home before tying Charlotte in Storrs and falling in 4-2 in penalty kicks. The Huskies reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the 11th time in program history and the first time since 2007. The squad enters the 2012 season with a streak of 25 games at home without a loss. The Huskies will be led by Andre Blake, the first freshman to win a major award, as he took home Big East Goalkeeper of the Year last season. Blake finished the season second in the nation with a 0.39 goals-against average. UConn will also have the services of Mamadou Diouf, chosen unanimously to the Preseason All-Conference team after leading the team with 13 goals and 28 points in 2011. Senior midfielder Carlos Alvarez, also chosen to the Preseason All-Conference team, was second on the squad with 20 points on six goals and eight assists last year.

USF tallied five first-place votes in the Red Division, collecting 90 total points for a second-place prediction. The Bulls won the regular-season title in their division last season after posting a 7-0-2 league record. USF was 13-4-4 overall and will be led by senior back Brenton Griffiths, a Preseason All-Big East selection. In 2011, the Bulls reached the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, falling 1-0 at Creighton in overtime.

Only one point behind the Bulls was Louisville. The Cardinals received 89 points and four first-place votes for a third-place spot entering 2012. Last season, UofL finished the regular season in fourth place with a 14-7-2 overall record and a 3-4-2 league mark. The Cardinals reached the Big East Championship semifinals, falling to Connecticut 1-0. Louisville earned the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Championship, receiving a first-round bye and hosting its second-round game. UofL advanced to the quarterfinals, falling in double-overtime 1-0 to UCLA. Louisville will be led by Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Farrell.

In the Blue Division, Notre Dame and Georgetown each received one first-place vote. Notre Dame was picked to finish second with 74 points. The Fighting Irish finished tied for fourth in the Blue Division last year after recording a 9-5-4 overall record, including a 5-3-1 mark in league play. Notre Dame will be led by two seniors who were named to the Preseason All-Big East Team - midfielder Dillon Powers and forward Ryan Finley.

Georgetown was picked to finish third with 72 points after ending 2011 tied for fourth. The Hoyas had a 10-5-4 overall mark and went 5-3-1 in conference action. Georgetown will be led by unanimous Preseason All-Big East forward Steve Neumann. Joining Neumann on the Preseason Team are senior midfielder Ian Christianson and Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year choice Jimmy Nealis.

Senior forward Antonio Aguilar was named to the Preseason All-Big East team for the second-straight year after scoring 18 points on seven goals and four assists for DePaul last season. After leading Marquette last season with 20 points, C. Nortey also earned Preseason All-Big East honors. Aguilar and Nortey are joined by Providence senior midfielder Marc Cintron as Preseason selections.

For the third-straight year, Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. will serve as host for the Big East Championship semifinals (Nov. 9) and final (Nov. 11). Updated ticket and television information can be found on bigeastsoccer.com as well as on Championship Central at bigeast.org. The tournament champion receives the leagueís automatic berth into the 48-team NCAA Division I Menís Soccer Championship.


2012 Big East MENíS SOCCER PRESEASON POLL

Blue Division
1. Connecticut (13)
2. Notre Dame (1)
3. Georgetown (1)
4. Marquette
5. Providence
6. Seton Hall
7. Pittsburgh


Red Division
1. St. Johnís (6)
2. USF (5)
3. Louisville (4)
4. Rutgers
5. Villanova
6. Cincinnati
7. DePaul
8. Syracuse


2012 Big East PRESEASON AWARD WINNERS
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Mamadou Diouf, Connecticut, F, Jr.

Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year
Andrew Farrell, Louisville, B, Jr.
Jimmy Nealis, Georgetown, B, Sr.

Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year
*Andre Blake, Connecticut, GK, So.

Preseason All-Big East Team^
Andre Blake, Connecticut, GK, So.
Carlos Alvarez, Connecticut, M, Sr.
*Mamadou Diouf, Connecticut, F, Jr.
Antonio Aguilar, DePaul, M, Sr.
Ian Christianson, Georgetown, M, Sr.
*Steve Neumann, Georgetown, F, Jr.
Jimmy Nealis, Georgetown, B, Sr.
Andrew Farrell, Louisville, B, Jr.
C. Nortey, Marquette, F, So.
Dillon Powers, Notre Dame, M, Sr.
Ryan Finley, Notre Dame, F, Sr.
Marc Cintron, Providence, M, Sr.
Jack Bennett, St. Johnís, M, Sr.
Tim Parker, St. Johnís, B, So.
Brenton Griffiths, USF, B, Sr.


*unanimous selection
^ extra member added due to voting ties

   
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