Last year, St. John's soccer didn't win the regular-season crown, but emerged late at Championship time. Dr. Dave Masur's team knocked off Connecticut to win the Big East tournament at Red Bull Arena, but lost to Brown University in a first-round upset that involved a spurious red card.
But the season's turned back to men's and women's soccer, and despite the loss of key players like Connor Lade, the Red Storm men's team was selected as the preseason favorite in the Red Division. The women's squad received less recognition, but will work to move up the standings.
More, below the fold.
The vote wasn't a declaration of dominance; The Johnnies earned 94 points in the coaches' preseason polling, and six first place votes. But South Florida earned 90 points and five first-place votes; Louisville came in third with 89 points, four first-place votes. The coaches have spoken; they feel that the Red division will be a tight race.
On the other side in the Blue Division, the Connecticut Huskies earned 13 first-place votes and 91 points overall, a clear standard bearer on their side of the league.
St. John's returns the offensive MVP of the Big East Championship last season, Jack Bennett, a British midfielder entering his senior year. Defender Tim Parker from Hicksville joins him as a preseason all-conference selection.
The men play their first exhibition on Saturday against Stony Brook; the season begins in earnest against Boston University on Friday, August 24th.
On the women's side, St. John's was picked sixth out of 78 teams in the American Division, earning 50 points; Marquette was picked to win the division. Last season, the Johnnies ended the year tied for fourth place. Midfielder Amy Marron earned a spot on the Big East Preseason All-League team; she and the squad were in action this afternoon in an exhibition against Central Connecticut State.