Welcome to the new Big East
The inclusion of three new schools, Creighton, Xavier and Butler into the Big East conference has not shaken up the strategy of Seton Hall’s three team sports coaches of the fall.
Volleyball head coach Allison Yaeger, men’s soccer coach Gerson Echeverry and women’s soccer coach Kazbek Tambi all have the same stance on the conference’s new invitees: they’re just another opponent, same as everyone else.
When asked what different preparations needed to be made for these new schools as conference opponents, Echeverry and Tambi both replied, “nothing really.”
Yaeger saw a storm coming with the three schools, whose past successes have impressed the two-year tenured head coach. “It’s tough for us because all these teams that are coming in, their RPI’s from last year are very good,” said Yaeger.
“So we’re not getting anyone in the conference that’s bad, which is good. Good and competitive for us and the Big East.”
Technology has been a big friend to every coach in the scouting and recruiting process.
Not one of the three coaches mentioned anything about sending an assistant coach or scout to a game because they all have the luxury of video scouting.
This exchange of film contributed to the notion that there is, “nothing really,” different in the way that coaches prepare for games.
“We get scouting reports and we watch film of them playing and we go out and train and take the field against them just like everyone else,” said Tambi.
“We break it down and show the girls and everything’s good. Everyone’s good in the Big East,” said Yaeger.
Echeverry said, “We have video on everything so we have access to the video of all their games from the beginning of the season because we have a Big East exchange.”
Similar to the proceeding reputations of the three incoming volleyball programs, Echeverry took note of the successes Creighton has had on the field in their past.
“Who we know a little bit more about is Creighton,” said Echeverry.
“They’ve been a team that’s always ranked in the top 10 for so many years so we have a tendency to maybe have seen them on TV and in previous years for what they have but never actually played them. That’s always a different monster so we use the video exchange to watch them.”
For the scouting process, some phone calls or contact is made to coaches that have played against an upcoming Seton Hall opponent, but that is something that has been status quo for years.
Tambi didn’t see any sense in contacting anyone specific from the school’s former conferences (Butler & Xavier from the Atlantic 10 and Creighton from the Missouri Valley).
“Everybody’s team changes from year to year and for us it’s much more important to talk to the opponents of these teams right now,” Tambi said.
Yaeger reiterated the point that all three coaches made, that the team they truly have to worry about is their own.
“We gotta prepare and we gotta take care of our side of the net first and then we take care of the other side of the net,” Yaeger said.
As far as the Big East’s westward expansion is concerned, the Pirates picked up only two new cities to travel to, despite adding three new schools.
Xavier is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the same city as former conference opponent the University of Cincinnati.
Seton Hall has already picked up a victory against one of these new conference opponents when Tambi’s soccer team defeated a 25th ranked Butler squad 3-1 on Sunday.
A humble Tambi was proud to be the first coach in Seton Hall to take a win against the new conference opponent in any sport in both school’s history.
“It’s great,” said Tambi, “If you look at it for us, whether it’s Butler, or Georgetown or it’s any other Big East school, these are tough. The tough battles and we’re happy with a ‘W’ against any of them.”
The Volleyball team will have their first taste of the new Big East on Saturday when they head to Cincinnati to face Xavier before going to Indianapolis to face Butler on Monday. The team’s Creighton trip to Omaha isn’t until November.
The men’s soccer club will have their first match against Butler next Saturday at home.
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at email@example.com.