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UConn and St. John's picked to win Big East men's divisional titles
by Paul Kennedy, August 8th, 2007 9AM
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Connecticut and St. John's have been picked to capture the 2007 Big East men's regular-season divisional titles in a vote by the league's 16 head coaches.
 
Connecticut, which earned 10 first-place votes, earned an NCAA Championship berth for the 10th straight year in 2006. Leading Connecticut will be the Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Julius James. Joining James, a first-team All-American in 2006, on the All-Big East Preseason Team are juniors O'Brian White and Akeem Priestley, both Jamaicans.
 
After a slow start and a third place finish in the 2006 Red Division, St. John's made a late run to win its seventh Big East title and advance to the NCAA Division I second round. The Red Storm is led by senior Jason Landers, the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season, and sophomore Ryan Soroka, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2006 Big East Championship after scoring three goals and two assists in the team's four-game run.
 
Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the Blue Division in a close race with 102 points and four first-place votes. The Irish went the furthest of any Big East squad in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, falling to Virginia 3-2 in quarterfinal action. They will be led by senior Joseph Lapira, the 2006 Hermann Trophy winner who led the conference in scoring with 22 goals and six assists for 50 overall points and was capped by Ireland in the offseason.

After a second-place finish in 2006, Rutgers was picked second in the Red Division with 90 points and one first-place vote. After a two-year absence, Rutgers earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
 
West Virginia is picked to finish third in the Blue Division with 86 points and three first-place votes. The Mountaineers will be led by senior midfielder Andy Wright, a preseason pick.
 
USF grabbed three first-place votes and 81 points in the preseason poll to be selected third in the Red Division. The Bulls return forwardJordan Seabrook and midfielder Kevon Neaves, a pair of juniors.
 
BIG EAST POLL:
Blue Division
1. Connecticut (10)
2. Notre Dame (4)
3. West Virginia (3)
4. Providence
5. Seton Hall
6. Georgetown
7. Marquette
8. Pittsburgh
Red Division
1. St. John's (9)
2. Rutgers (1)
3. USF (3)
4. Cincinnati (2)
5. Louisville (1)
6. Syracuse
7. Villanova
8. DePaul
(First place votes in parentheses)
 
BIG EAST PRESEASON HONORS:
Offensive Player of the Year
Joseph Lapira, Sr., F, Notre Dame
 
Defensive Player of the Year
Julius James, Sr., D, Connecticut

Goalkeeper of the Year
Jason Landers, Sr., GK, St. John's
 
All-Conference Team
Matt Besler, Jr., MF/D, Notre Dame
Eliseo Giusfredi, Jr., F, Seton Hall
Amir Ikner, Sr., D, Cincinnati
Julius James, Sr., D, Connecticut*
Jason Landers, Sr., GK, St. John's
Joseph Lapira, Sr., F, Notre Dame*
Ryan Maduro, Sr., MF, Providence*
Akeem Priestley, Jr., MF, Connecticut
Ryan Soroka, So., F, St. John's
O'Brian White, Jr., F, Connecticut
Andy Wright, Sr., MF, West Virginia
*unanimous selection.



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