FILE PHOTO: CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA Senior midfielder Ian Christianson was one of three Hoyas named to the preseason all-Big East team.
FILE PHOTO: CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA
Senior midfielder Ian Christianson was one of three Hoyas named to the preseason all-Big East team.

The Blue and Gray were tabbed third in the Big East’s Blue Division in the coaches’ poll for men’s soccer, which was released Monday, and a trio of Hoyas were named to the preseason all-Big East team.

Georgetown finished sixth in the Blue Division last season, when the team went 10-5-4 overall. The Hoyas saw 2011 end with a 2-1 loss to St. John’s in the conference tournament.

The Big East coaches’ expectations for improving that finish are based in part on three outstanding individualHoyas, all of whom were recognized with preseason all-Big East honors.

Senior defender Jimmy Nealis, who was named preseason co-defensive player of the year last year in addition to his spot on the preseason team, has started on Georgetown’s back line the last three years.

Nealis was part of the Blue and Gray’s solid defense last season, when the team shut out seven opponents and allowed only 19 goals in 19 games.

Junior forward Steve Neumann, who was first team all-Big East last season, was — perhaps unsurprisingly — a unanimous selection for the preseason team.

Neumann ranked first on Georgetown’s team for points scored last season, with 29 earned on 11 goals and seven assists. As a sophomore, he was first in the Big East for game-winning goals with a total of six and ranked second in points, points per game and goals per game.

Senior midfielder Ian Christianson rounded out the trio of honored Hoyas. Christianson was second on the team in scoring as a starter in all 19 of 2011’s games. He was second team all-Big East last season, although he was named midfielder of the year and placed on the conference’s first team in 2010.

While Georgetown lost midfielders Ben Slingerland and Ibu Otegbeye, as well as forward UcheOnyeador, to graduation, the young Hoyas who stepped up last season seem well prepared to aim for an NCAA tournament berth.

Georgetown begins exhibition play on North Kehoe Field against Old Dominion at 4 p.m. on Aug. 14. The first game of the regular season will be against Virginia in Germantown, Md., on Aug. 24 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

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