NEW YORK - The BIG EAST men's soccer coaches selected Creighton to place third in the 2014 preseason poll while CU senior Jose Ribas and junior Timo Pitter earned recognition on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon.
Creighton garnered one of the 10 first-place votes to help total 63 overall points. The league’s two ranked teams, No. 9 Georgetown and No. 12 Marquette, were tied atop the poll for first place with 75 points apiece. The Hoyas edged the Golden Eagles 5-4 in first-place votes.
St. John’s placed fourth with 54 tallies from the coaches. Providence was slotted in fifth place at 48 points. The top five squads in the poll all appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season.
Butler came in at sixth place with 43 points. Xavier (38) was selected seventh, followed by Villanova (23), Seton Hall (19) and DePaul (12).
Last season the Jays claimed second place in the preseason poll. This year’s poll marks just the third time in the last 10 seasons that Creighton was not picked to win the league in a conference preseason poll. Prior to its entrance into the BIG EAST last summer, Creighton was picked to win the league 14 times by conference coaches before the season, including every year between 1993-99.
Ribas started 19 regular-season contests for the Bluejays last season. He led the team with six assists on the year and ranked third on the squad with eight points. Ribas scored his lone goal against DePaul on Nov. 2. He ended the regular season by posting an assist in each of the Jays’ final three matches.
Pitter finished 2013 as the Jays’ top scorer with seven goals and 18 points. He ranked seventh overall in the conference for both of those categories. Four of Pitter’s scores came in BIG EAST play. He posted game-winning goals against Columbia and DePaul. Pitter started every match for CU last season and registered at least a single shot attempt in all but one contest.
Ribas and Piiter claimed two of the Jays’ seven All-BIG EAST selections at the end of last season. Three other 2013 honorees also return for Creighton including junior Brendan Hines-Ike along with sophomores Fabian Herbers and Ricardo Perez.
Creighton finished last season unranked with a 9-9-2 overall mark following an NCAA Tournament First Round setback against Seattle. CU played a lot of tight matches in 2013 as each of the Jays’ nine losses came by a single goal. The Bluejays completed their first season in the BIG EAST Conference with a 4-4-1 mark and a fifth-place finish. CU compiled a 7-2-1 record at home inside Morrison Stadium.
Fourth-year head coach Elmar Bolowich leads the Jays in their quest for the program’s 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 23 seasons this fall. Creighton returns 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team. The Bluejays welcome 11 newcomers to the squad but lose the services of 2014 MLS Draft selections Eric Miller and Zach Barnes.
The Jays host No. 21 Wisconsin in their final exhibition match on Friday at 7 p.m. CT inside Morrison Stadium.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – Brandon Allen, Georgetown, Jr., F Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – Axel Sjoberg, Marquette, R-Jr., D Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year – Tomas Gomez, Georgetown, Sr.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team * Brandon Allen, Georgetown, Jr., F ^ Louis Bennett II, Marquette, So., M Samuel Geiler, Seton Hall, So., M David Goldsmith, Butler, So., F Tomas Gomez, Georgetown, Sr., GK Julian Gressel, Providence, So., F Alex Muyl, Georgetown, So., F C. Nortey, Marquette, R-Jr., F ^ Tim Parker, St. John’s, Sr., D ^ Timo Pitter, Creighton, Jr., M Jose Ribas, Creighton, Sr., D Axel Sjoberg, Marquette, R-Jr., D ^ Zach Steinberger, Butler, Sr., M Will Walker, Xavier, R-Sr., M Joshua Yaro, Georgetown, So., D
* - Five forwards and five midfielders because of ties in the voting ^ - unanimous selection
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