[PREVIEW: Big East Women]Marquette and Georgetown came in at No. 12 and No. 15, respectively, in the Soccer America Preseason Women's Top 25 and also are 1-2 in the Big East coaches' poll. The Golden Eagles, losers of one conference game in the last three years, were the unanimous preseason pick.
Marquette begins the season with a 28-game unbeaten streak in league play, having gone 9-0-0 in regular-season play in 2013 and sweeping its second straight conference tournament crown. Returning for the Golden Eagles are Mary Luba(8 goals, 5 assists), a unanimous preseason All-Big East selection, and Mady Vicker (6 goals), another preseason pick.
The conference's most influential could be Georgetown's Daphne Corboz, a Soccer America Preseason All-American. Corboz, who is a member of the U.S. under-23 national team, scored seven goals and had 13 assists to lead the Hoyas despite missing the first five games of the season with an injury. The only other Big East player on the Soccer America Preseason All-American list is St. John’s junior Rachel Daly, the national leader in goals scored (23) in her first season with the Red Storm in 2013.
St. John’s was picked to finish third, ahead of DePaul and Butler in the projected top half of the conference. DePaul went 13-6-2 last season and advanced to the Big East title game for the first time since joining the league in 2005, earning its first NCAA Tournament bid since joining the league and second time in program history. DePaul returns Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Alejandria Godinez, who led the conference in goals-against average (0.69) and shutouts (9). In its second season in the Big East, Butler features a pair of preseason all-conference players in Serina Kashimoto and Sophia Maccagnone.
Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton, Providence and Xavier rounded out the conference in preseason polling of coaches. Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence all have new coaches. Fran Kulas takes over as the Villanova head coach, while Seton Hall is now under the direction of Rick Stainton. Sam Lopes took the reins this past spring at Providence. Creighton and Providence both return their leading scorers in Kirstyn Corder and Catherine Zimmerman, respectively, with seven goals apiece. Xavier, another program in its second season in the Big East, also has its 2013 leading scorer back in Tori Doss, who scored four goals and five assists.