North Carolina Picked First in ACC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll

League coaches select Florida State second, Virginia third, Duke fourth
(Pictured: Crystal Dunn of North Carolina)

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – North Carolina, which returns eight starters from last season’s NCAA Championship team, has been selected first in the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.

Coach Anson Dorrance’s Tar Heels received 13 first-place votes in balloting among the ACC’s 14 head coaches. Defending regular-season conference champion Florida State received the other first-place vote.

North Carolina collected a total of 119 total points (14 points for each first-place vote, 13 points for each second-place vote, etc.). FSU, which joined the Tar Heels in the 2012 NCAA College Cup, and 2012 ACC Champion Virginia were selected second and third, respectively. The Seminoles amassed 171 total points to the Cavaliers’ 161. Duke (153 points), new ACC member Notre Dame (143) and Wake Forest (140) were selected to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Maryland (110 points) placed seventh in the ACC’s coaches’ poll, while Boston College (102) placed eighth. Virginia Tech, one of a record nine ACC teams to compete in the 2012 NCAA Championship, collected 85 points in the coaches’ voting, followed by Clemson and Miami, which share a tie for 10th with 56 points each.

North Carolina’s long list of returnees from last season’s national championship squad team includes MAC Hermann Trophy winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year Crystal Dunn, and 2012 NCAA Women’s College Cup’s Most Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Players Kealia Ohai and Satara Murray.

Florida State’s returning cast includes first team ACC selection goalkeeper Kelsey Wys and defender Kassey Kallman, ACC Championship MVP Morgan Brian returns to Virginia, as does ACC Freshman of the Year Cassie Pecht to Duke. Dunn and Wys earned All-America honors in 2012, as did five other 2013 ACC returning student-athletes: Duke defender Natasha Anasi, North Carolina forward Kealia Ohai, Notre Dame midfielder Cari Roccaro and Wake Forest forward Katie Stengel and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.

Overall, 15 student-athletes that earned first- or second-team All-ACC honors in 2012 are set to return this season, including 10 of the league’s top scorers.

Including Notre Dame’s Roccaro, who was named the 2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, a quartet of Irish student-athletes that earned all-BIG EAST honors from a season ago are set for their first season in the ACC. Syracuse welcomes back BIG EAST goalkeeper of the year Brittany Anghel for her final season. 

The 2013 season gets under way Friday, August 23, with 13 of the ACC’s 14 teams scheduled to see action.

1. North Carolina (194 points, 13 first place votes)

2. Florida State (171, 1 first place vote)

3. Virginia (161)

4. Duke (153)

5. Notre Dame (143)

6. Wake Forest (140)

7. Maryland (110)

8. Boston College (102)

9. Virginia Tech (85)

T10. Clemson (56)

T10. Miami (56)

12. Syracuse (45)

13. NC State (36)

14. Pittsburgh  (18)