The Big East will have a new champion come this spring. Both Syracuse and Notre Dame have left the conference for the very dangerous and competitive ACC. Villanova has a very good chance of taking the conference crown but has newly added Denver standing in their way.
Schools Remaining from 2013
Georgetown–The Hoyas, led by second year coach Kevin Warne, finished 2013 6-9 overall with a conference record of 3-3. Georgetown returns its top three scorers in Reilly O’Connor (55 pts), Charles McCormick (27 pts) and Jeff Fountain (23 pts). They lose Travis Comeau (23 pts), Zac Guy (22 pts) and Brian Casey (22 pts) all to graduation. Jake Haley returns between the pipes for the Hoyas to lead what should be a very strong defense underneath Warne.
Providence–Even though the Friars went 1-5 in conference play, they started the season 5-0 and finished at .500 with an 8-8 record. Sean Wright (53 pts) and Andrew Barton (45 pts) are the 1-2 punch for the Friars heading into this season, along with junior midfielder Greg Fitzmaurice (22 pts). JT Weber and Daniel Textor are graduated and take with them a combined 62 points. Starting as a freshman, now sophomore, goalie Jack Connelly will fight to keep his starting role in cage. Can Providence start with a bang like they did last year?
Rutgers–0-6 in Big East play with an overall record of 2-13, the Scarlet Knights enter 2014 with a chip on their shoulder. Rutgers was young last year and basically return their entire team on both ends of the field. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Knights make a run this year if they produce the team chemistry that they should. They will be tested early as they travel to Virginia on February 22.
St. John’s–Kieran Mcardle will lead the Red Storm into 2014. St. John’s went 9-4 overall with a 3-3 record in the Big East. With the exception of Alex Lagodich (19 pts), St. John’s brings back their entire offense as well that averaged 12 goals a game. Goaltender Jeff Lowman has graduated so one of the biggest questions for Coach Miller is, who will sit between the pipes?
Villanova–Up and coming program, the Wildcats (7-8, 5-1) made the Big East championship game last season, eventually falling to Syracuse. They graduate three of their top five point producers, including number one Jack Rice (37) and number two Max Hart (31). John Kluh may not be the biggest player on the field, but he plays with the biggest heart. He produced 25 points last year using his shifty skills. Reed Carlson came in at about the middle of the season last year to take over in net and will have to earn his spot again. Nova is going to the grinder early as they take on PA rivals Lehigh and Drexel in the first two games of the season.
New on the Scene
New to the Big East are Denver and Marquette. The Pioneers played in the ECAC last season, falling in the championship game to Ohio State. Coach Tierney’s squad fought hard to make it into the NCAA tournament where their season ended when they met Syracuse in the Semi’s and finished 14-5 overall.
Marquette was an Independent in 2013 with the likes of Johns Hopkins, Mercer and High Point. The Golden Eagles went 5-8 in their first season of play, downing Air Force, Mercer, High Point, Detroit Mercy and Bellarmine.
The Big East is wide open for anyone to take the crown. With the addition of Denver and Marquette, it is anyone’s to claim. This will be an exciting conference to watch throughout the season.