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Aug. 15, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Eight Atlantic Coast Conference women's soccer teams are ranked among the Top 25 in Soccer America's preseason poll.
Five of those eight teams are ranked in the top five led by 2011 College Cup finalist Duke at the No. 1 slot. Wake Forest and North Carolina are ranked third and fourth, respectively, while Florida State stands at No. 6 and Virginia at No. 7.
Boston College, Maryland and Virginia Tech round out the selections at No. 18, No. 19 and No. 24, respectively.
The strong preseason showing follows a 2011 postseason that saw the ACC place a record nine teams in the NCAA Tournament field with Duke, Florida State and Wake Forest all advancing to the College Cup.
Duke returns all 11 starters from last season's 22-4-1 team that finished second nationally, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Anasi. The Blue Devils were also selected by the league's head coaches as the favorites to win the 2012 ACC title.
Wake Forest's returning cast includes 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel, and ACC Freshman of the Year Morgan Brian returns to Virginia. All three earned All-America honors in 2011, as did seven other 2012 ACC returnees: Boston College midfielder Kristie Mewis, Duke midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr, defending ACC champion Florida State forward Tiffany McCarty and defender Ines Jaurena, North Carolina forward Crystal Dunn, Virginia forward Caroline Miller and Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.
Overall, 20 student-athletes that earned first- or second-team All-ACC honors in 2011 are set to return this season, including each of the league's top 10 scorers. The 2012 season gets under way Friday, August 17, with all 11 ACC teams scheduled to see action.
|Soccer America Women's Preseason Top 25|
|3. Wake Forest||(18-4-4)|
|4. North Carolina||(13-5-2)|
|6. Florida State||(18-7-1)|
|8. Penn State||(21-5-0)|
|10. Oklahoma State||(22-2-2)|
|12. Notre Dame||(10-8-3)|
|13. Santa Clara||(13-2-6)|
|15. Texas A&M||(16-6-2)|
|18. Boston College||(12-6-3)|
|20. William & Mary||(17-3-2)|
|23. West Virginia||(17-5-0)|
|24. Virginia Tech||(14-8-1)|
|25. Long Beach State||(18-6-1)|