Looking Forward...BIG EAST Men's Soccer
BIG EAST Men’s Soccer
CHICAGO - This is the first in a series that takes an inside look at the future of DePaul athletics in the BIG EAST Conference. The BIG EAST, headquarterd in Providence, R.I., celebrated its 25th anniversary during the 2003-04 season and moved forward in 2004-05 with the addition of five new members poised to join the league this summer.
On July 1, DePaul University joins the University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Marquette University and the University of South Florida as new members of the BIG EAST Conference. The league membership in 2005-06 includes the five new members joining the University of Connecticut, Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Syracuse University, Villanova University and the University of West Virginia.
A Preview of BIG EAST Men’s Soccer
In 2004, the BIG EAST Conference sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament led by No. 5 overall seed and regular-season champion Notre Dame. The Irish captured the regular-season title with a 8-1-1 league record and finished the season with a 13-2-3 mark. Connecticut earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a penalty-kick victory in the championship match over Seton Hall.
The league has sent at least five teams to NCAA Tournament play in four consecutive seasons. St. John’s just missed their second straight Final Four appearance with a 1-0 loss against Maryland in the Elite Eight last December. St. John’s was the national runner-up in 2003 and also the 1996 NCAA Champions. Connecticut claimed the league’s second, and most recent, NCAA title in 2000. The 2003 St. John’s club was one of six league programs in that year’s 48-team NCAA Tournament field.
BIG EAST teams produced three NSCAA/adidas All-Americans in 2004 led by Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer and Seton Hall sophomore midfielder Sacha Kljestan on the first team. Boston College’s senior midfielder Guy Melamed was a second team honoree. Overall, there have been 62 All-Americans from BIG EAST programs since 1982.
Last Five BIG EAST Champions
2004 BIG EAST Standings