MacKinnon, Williams Named All-BIG EAST Second Team

09 Dec 2021 | 11:02 | Football

NEW YORK – Creighton senior forward Diego Gutierrez has been voted the 2021 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Georgetown junior midfielder Dante Polvara was named Midfielder of the Year with teammate Sean Zawadzki named Defensive Player of the Year. Goalkeeper of the Year honors were garnered by St. John’s junior netminder Luka Gavran. UConn’s Mateo Leveque earned Freshman of the Year honors, while Brian Wiese and the Georgetown staff earned BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year accolades.

For the second straight season Gutierrez is the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, after leading the league with 24 points in 2021. It marks the sixth time in eight seasons a Creighton student-athlete has received the honor (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020). He is also the first back-to-back offensive recipient since

2015–Creighton’s Fabian Herbers accomplished the feat in 2014 and 2015–and the seventh individual to do so in BIG EAST history (Herbers, CU, O’Brian White, UConn (2007, 2008), Maurizio Rocha, UConn (1997, 1998), Huey Ferguson, SJU (1992, 1993), Pat O’Kelly, SHU (1988, 1989) and Dan Donigan, UConn (1987, 1988)).

Overall, Gutierrez led the BIG EAST in goals (nine), goals per game (0.53), points (25) and points per game (1.47). Vaulting the Bluejays out of a 0-4-0 hole to start conference action, he tallied five goals and five assists during CU’s six-match unbeaten streak (5-0-1), as the Bluejays claimed the fourth seed in the BIG EAST Championship and rose as high as No. 26 in the RPI. Nationally, he ranks 27th in the NCAA in points per game. For the second straight season Gutierrez is a unanimous first-team honoree.

Polvara is the second midfielder in league history to repeat as BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year, joining Creighton’s Timo Pitter who accomplished the feat in 2014 and 2015. It also marks the third straight season a Hoya has claimed the honor, which is tied for the longest streak in league history alongside Creighton’s three-peat in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Polvara started all 16 games for the Hoyas and amassed 13 points with four goals and five assists. He also registered 59 shots on the season, with 26 on goal. Two of his four goals were game winners. In BIG EAST play, he scored six points with two goals and two assists, including a game-winner against Butler. For the second consecutive year, he is a unanimous first-team honoree.

Zawadzki anchored a defense that combined for seven shutouts and allowed just 12 goals in 16 games. Zawadzki started all 16 games for the Hoyas and helped limit opponents to just 118 shots and a .102 shot percentage. On goal, opponents were only able to get off 52 shots. Offensively, Zawadzki led the Hoyas with seven goals and 15 points. Overall, he ranks third in the BIG EAST in goals per game (0.44), while his three match-winning goals is tied for first in the league. An All-BIG EAST First Team honoree, Zawadzki earned the seventh Defensive Player of the Year accolade for Georgetown and the fourth in as many years.

Gavran is the third Red Storm goalkeeper to claim Goalkeeper of the Year and the program’s first outright winner since 2005, as Jan Hoffelner shared the honor in 2019. Ranking near the top nationally in several statistical categories, Gavran leads the nation with 11 shutouts in 18 contests. With 57 saves on the year, Gavran limited his opponents to just 10 goals in 2021 and five in BIG EAST play. He ranks second nationally with a 0.851 save percentage, while also helping St. John’s rank second in shutout percentage (0.611), first in save percentage (0.859) and fifth in goals against average (0.591) across the NCAA.

Leveque is UConn’s ninth Freshman of the Year, but the first Husky to win the award since 2009. After coming off the bench in the opening two contests, Leveque quickly gained the trust of the UConn coaching staff and made 14 consecutive starts at midfield to close out the year. Overall, he played 1,376 minutes in his first season as a Husky and led the team with 12 points on the year, collecting three goals and a co-team-high six assists. In BIG EAST play, he notched five points with a goal and three assists. He was voted as a member of the All-BIG EAST Third Team.

Brian Wiese and the Georgetown coaching staff picked up their fourth such honor and first since 2015. Overall, it marks the sixth time in program history the Hoyas’ staff has been named BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year (1994, 1997, 2010, 2013, 2015). For the third straight season, Georgetown claimed the BIG EAST Regular Season title and top-overall seed in the BIG EAST Championship, capping the regular season 8-2-0 in conference action and 14-2-0 overall. With an unblemished mark at Shaw Field (10-0-0), the Hoyas have ranked among the top-five teams in the nation all season long, while holding the top spot seven out of a possible 11 weeks. Currently ranked fourth in the polls, Georgetown is third in the RPI and is set to host Villanova in the BIG EAST Semifinal Thursday at 11 a.m.

Announced alongside with the regular season awards were the 2021 All-Conference teams. The All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams are positional with nine positional players, a goalkeeper and an at-large vote. The All-BIG EAST Third Team is made up of at least 11 at-large bids.

In addition to Gutierrez and Polvara, two players on the All-BIG EAST First Team were returning honorees from 2020: Butler junior forward Wilmer Cabrera and Providence senior midfielder Paulo Lima.

Rounding out the All-BIG EAST First Team was Zawadzki, Georgetown junior defender Will Sands, Providence senior defender Ramzi Qawasmy, St. John’s defender Lucas Bartlett, midfielder Brandon Knapp and Gavran, as well as Xavier junior forward Karsen Henderlong.

Georgetown led all schools with nine honorees on the all-conference teams. Providence, the second seed in the tournament had six and Creighton had four. St. John’s, Seton Hall and Marquette each had three. Butler, DePaul and Villanova each had two. UConn and Xavier each had one.

See below for a full listing of the award winners.

2021 BIG EAST Regular Season Awards

BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year

Diego Gutierrez, Creighton, Sr., F

BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year

Dante Polvara, Georgetown, Jr., M

BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year

Sean Zawadzki, Georgetown, Sr., M

BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year

Luka Gavran, St. John’s, Jr, GK

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year

Mateo Leveque, Connecticut, Fr., M

BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year

Georgetown

2021 BIG EAST All-Conference Teams

First Team

Second Team

Third Team (at-large) *

Wilmer Cabrera, Butler, Jr., F

Diego Gutierrez, Creighton, Sr., F ^

Dante Polvara, Georgetown, Jr., M ^

Sean Zawadzki, Georgetown, Sr., M

Will Sands, Georgetown, Jr., D

Paulo Lima, Providence, Sr., M

Ramzi Qawasmy, Providence, Sr., D

Lucas Bartlett, St. John’s, Sr., D

Luka Gavran, St. John’s, Jr, GK

Brandon Knapp St. John’s, Sr., M

Karsen Henderlong, Xavier, Jr., F

Rhys Myers, Butler, Sr., D

Callum Watson, Creighton, Sr., M

Jake Fuderer, DePaul, Sr., D

Stefan Stojanovic, Georgetown, Jr., F

Daniel Wu, Georgetown, Jr., D

Lukas Sunesson, Marquette, Jr., F

Edrey Caceres, Marquette, Fr., M

Gevork Diarbian, Providence, So., F

Luis Garcia, Providence, Jr., M

Lyam MacKinnon, Villanova, Jr., M

Carson Williams, Villanova, RSr., GK

Mateo Leveque, Connecticut, Fr., M

Paul Kruse, Creighton, Sr., GK

Charles Auguste, Creighton, Sr., M

Gandhi Cruz, DePaul, RFr., GK

Zach Riviere, Georgetown, Sr., F

Giannis Nikopolidis, Georgetown, Sr., GK

Chris Hegardt, Georgetown, So., M

Kenny Nielsen, Georgetown, So., D

Beto Soto, Marquette, So., M

Davis Smith, Providence, Gr., F

Malcolm Duncan, Providence, Gr., D

CJ Tibbling, Seton Hall, Sr., F

Luca Dahn, Seton Hall, Sr., D

Johannes Pex, Seton Hall, Jr., D

^ denotes unanimous selection

* due to ties in voting there are extra members on the All-BIG EAST Third Team

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