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Aug. 6, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Two-time defending NCAA champion North Carolina is the narrow favorite to claim the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference women's soccer title, according to a preseason vote of the league's 11 head coaches.
The Tar Heels, who will be bidding for their sixth straight ACC championship and their 22nd overall, were listed first on five ballots. UNC edged 2009 regular-season co-champion Boston College, which received four first-place votes. Florida State, which shared the regular-season title with the Eagles last season, received one first-place vote, as did Virginia. FSU placed third in the overall coaches' voting, followed by the Cavaliers.
Four other teams that participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament followed. Duke was picked fifth, followed by Maryland, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Miami placed ninth in the voting, followed by NC State and Clemson.
North Carolina, which compiled a 23-3-1 record en route to its 20th NCAA title last season, returns six starters from 2009, but must replace defender Whitney Engen, the 2009 Honda Award and 2009-10 Mary Garber Award winner, four-time All-American Tobin Heath and two-time NCAA Women's College Cup Offensive MVP Casey Nogueira.
The ACC is coming off a 2009 season that saw a league-record tying eight teams receive NCAA Tournament bids and post a conference-record 20 postseason wins. Seven of those teams reached the NCAA tourney's final 16, and four - North Carolina, Boston College, Florida State and Wake Forest - were national quarterfinalists. Each of those teams was ranked among the top eight of the final NSCAA and Soccer Times polls. Maryland and Virginia Tech joined them as consensus top 12 teams, and Virginia placed among the top 20 ranked teams by each organization.
Twelve student-athletes that earned first- or second-team All-ACC honors in 2009 are set to return this season, including reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year Tiffany McCarty of Florida State, Soccer America National Freshman of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year Victoria DiMartino of Boston College, and three-time All-ACC first-team midfielder Sinead Farrelly of Virginia.
The 2010 season gets under way the weekend of Aug. 20-22, when all 11 ACC teams are scheduled to see action.
2010 Preseason ACC Women's Soccer Coaches' Poll
School Points 2009 Overall & ACC Record
1. North Carolina (5) 113 23-3-1 (7-3-0)
2. Boston College (4) 111 18-4-2 (7-2-1)
3. Florida State (1) 102 19-5-1 (7-2-1)
4. Virginia (1) 81 10-6-6 (4-4-2)
5. Duke 73 8-9-4 (4-4-2)
6. Maryland 63 14-6-2 (4-4-2)
7. Wake Forest 61 16-6-2 (5-3-2)
8. Virginia Tech 51 16-8-0 (6-4-0)
9. Miami 34 8-10-1 (3-6-1)
10. NC State 26 8-9-2 (2-7-1)
11. Clemson 11 3-15-0 (0-10-0)
- First-place votes in parenthesis