Typically, when college sports fans hear about the “Big East Conference,” they think of basketball. It’s hard not to think this. Bas- ketball drives the most television coverage for the conference with nearly every game appearing on Fox or CBS. Five teams from the conference made it to the NCAA tournament last March.
But college hoops season is still far from starting. So now, I think it’s time for people to focus atten- tion on a different sport the Big East has been dominating: men’s soccer.
It’s hard to pinpoint why the conference hasn’t been celebrated that much for soccer. It could be the lack of nationally televised games, or it could be the fact that basketball has simply been more popular. Either way, I think it’s time to start to celebrate the con- ference’s accomplishments in the sport.
Over the years, six schools in the Big East made it to the Big Dance. Creighton University came second in 2000 while St. John’s went on to win the whole thing back in 1996.
Currently in the NCAA men’s soccer rankings, there are four Big East Teams in the Top 25. In the NSCAA Coaches rankings, one Big East team has clinched the coveted No. 1 spot.
And what team is sitting pretty at number one? That team is Creighton.
Creighton, huh? Well, if you take a look at the Seton Hall schedule, you will see that the unbeaten Bluejays will travel from Omaha, Neb., to South Orange this week- end to open up their Big East sea- son against the Pirates. Game time is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
It will not be easy for the win- less Pirates to pull an upset over the Bluejays come Saturday afternoon, but this squad is no stranger to beating nationally ranked teams. Last season, the Pirates came out on top in a 1-0 victory over third- ranked Georgetown. What the Pirates had in that miraculous victory was a goal from then senior stand- out Andrew LoManto.
Other than the Seton Hall game, this entire weekend is jam packed with Big East soccer as conference play opens up across the board.
Key matchups include Villanova and Butler as well as Georgetown and Providence on Saturday. Villanova is coming off a two-game win streak and sits at 5-1 while Butler tied up its last two games and sits at 3-0-3.
Georgetown against Providence will be interesting being that both teams were nationally ranked at one point last year. The Friars have a record of 4-1-2 while the Hoyas have only come up with two wins so far, so the former has the advantage.
The women’s soccer team earned their first win of the season on sunday in double overtime. Senior Amanda Gulli socored in the 101st minute on a bicycle kick to give the Pirates the win over Albany.
While Creighton and Villanova are arguably the best teams in the conference right now, they do not meet until Oct. 24, just two weeks before the stage is set for the Big East Championship.
This weekend will definitely show who is ready to step up for the remainder of the season. In basketball, the Big East is one of those conferences where one day you’re at the top and the next day you could back at the bottom.
In just a few days, we will see if that is the case for men’s soccer.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twit- ter @OliviaMulvihill