NEW YORK - The BIG EAST men's soccer coaches selected No. 6 Creighton to place second in the 2013 preseason poll the league office announced Tuesday afternoon. CU junior Eric Miller and sophomore Timo Pitter were also named to the preseason All‐BIG EAST Team.
Creighton garnered three of the 10 first-place votes to help total 75 overall points. Despite claiming seven first-place votes, top pick No. 3 Georgetown finished just four points ahead of the Bluejays in the poll at 79. Like the Jays, the Hoyas are coming off of a College Cup appearance in 2012.
No. 12 Marquette was picked for third place with 63 points and St. John’s was placed fourth by the coaches with 59 tallies. Xavier was slotted for fifth place at 49 points. All three squads appeared in the 2012 NCAA Tournament alongside the Jays and Hoyas.
Villanova was picked for sixth place at 42 points. Providence (25) was selected seventh, followed by Butler (24), Seton Hall (18) and DePaul (17).
It marks just the second time in the last nine seasons that Creighton was not picked to win the league in a conference preseason poll. Prior to its entrance into the BIG EAST this summer, Creighton was picked to win the league 14 times by conference coaches before the season, including every year between 1993-99.
CU’s Miller spent the summer playing with the United States Under-20 National Team at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. He also earned a roster spot with the Portland Timbers U-23s of the Premier Development League (PDL) alongside fellow Creighton teammates Zach Barnes and Jose Ribas. Despite splitting time, he ranked third on the Timbers U-23s with five points this summer (two goals, one assist).
He started 19 matches for the Bluejays in 2012, logging 1,596 minutes. Miller collected three points on one goal and one assist last season. For his career he has one goal, three assists in 43 matches. He claimed first team all-conference and all-tournament honors as well as all-district and all-conference academic first team accolades in 2012.
Pitter led the team with 24 points, 10 goals and 34 shots on goal last season as a freshman. He ranked nationally as the No. 4 freshman and No. 42 overall with 10 goals. For points scored in 2012 he stood No. 5 nationally as a freshman and was No. 51 overall in NCAA Division I with 24 points scored. His 10 scores were the most by any CU freshman in 22 seasons dating back to 1990.
Pitter claimed 2012 All-Freshman First Team recognition from College Soccer News as well as Soccer America. He also earned all-conference and all-freshman league laurels during his first season in Omaha including conference Freshman of the Year honors.
CU finished 2012 with a 17-4-3 record, the nation's No. 6 NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) mark, and a No. 4 national ranking from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) after competing in its second consecutive College Cup as the No. 12 national seed in December. The Jays also won their conference regular-season and tournament titles for a second straight year.
Third-year head coach Elmar Bolowich leads the Jays in their quest for the program’s 21st NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 22 seasons in 2013. Bolowich has led his teams to five consecutive College Cups (North Carolina in 2008, '09 and '10 and Creighton in 2011 and ‘12).
The Jays return 16 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team. Four 2012 all-conference selections return for the Jays including Miller, Pitter, junior Jose Ribas and sophomore Brendan Hines-Ike. The Bluejays welcome 10 newcomers to the squad but lose the services of 2012 NSCAA All-Americans Jose Gomez and Andrew Ribeiro.
Creighton opens its 2013 campaign Thursday with the Blue-White Scrimmage slated for 6 p.m. CT at Morrison Stadium. The No. 6 Bluejays battle No. 7 Notre Dame this weekend in a home exhibition match on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.