Marquette men picked to finish seventh in Big East soccer preseason poll

In the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Marquette was selected to finish seventh out of eight teams in the Blue Division after the 2009 season in which the team finished sixth.

“They can put us wherever they want,” senior midfielder Anthony Colaizzi said. “Obviously we’re out there to prove them wrong. We’re definitely not a seventh place team. We’re going to do a lot better than that.”

The trek to prove the poll wrong begins this Friday in Piscataway, N.J., against Rutgers (3-1-1) in Marquette’s Big East opener.

Associate head coach Stan Anderson said it’s going to be a very tough game because Rutgers creates a tough environment to play in, the team is well coached and the Scarlet Knights are on a three game winning streak.

Now that it’s Big East time, Colaizzi said it’s important that the team do everything it can to earn points from every match it has so that it improves its chances of making it to the Big East Tournament and putting itself in a position to be successful there.

Coach Louis Bennett said that what sets Big East soccer apart from other conferences in the country is the number of different regions represented in the league which means teams will see different styles of play – at a high level – throughout the year.

“You can’t build a team to just play against one style like you can with some other conferences,” Bennett said of the Big East. “It’s like the collegiate version of the Champions League.”

Connecticut and Notre Dame were selected to finish first and second, respectively, in Marquette’s division. Bennett said what sets these two programs apart from the rest of the Big East is experience and a tradition of winning.

“They reload every year because they’ve won and have continued to win,” Bennett said. “That day-in-and-day-out quality that they bring makes them a difficult team. And…we’re aspiring to be like that.”