Duke Picked First In ACC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
Aug. 10, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Duke, which returns all 11 starters from last season's NCAA College Cup finalist, has been selected first in the Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Soccer Preseason Poll.
Coach Robbie Church's Blue Devils received 10 first-place votes in balloting among the ACC's 11 head coaches. Defending conference champion Florida State received the other first-place vote. Duke is the first team other than North Carolina to be selected first in the ACC preseason poll since the coaches' vote began in 1992.
Duke collected a total of 119 total points (11 points for each first-place vote, 10 points for each second-place vote, etc.). Wake Forest and FSU, which joined Duke in the 2011 NCAA College Cup, were selected second and third, respectively. The Demon Deacons amassed 99 total points to the Seminoles' 94. North Carolina (92 points) and Virginia (89) were selected to finish fourth and fifth in the tight voting.
The top five choices almost mirror the NSCAA national preseason poll released earlier this week in which Duke was ranked No. 2, Wake Forest No. 3, Florida State No. 4, Virginia No. 7 and North Carolina No. 8.
Boston College (66 points) placed sixth in the ACC's coaches' poll, while Maryland (51) placed seventh. The Eagles and Terrapins are ranked a respective 11th and 13th nationally by the NSCAA. Virginia Tech, ranked 22nd in the NSCAA preseason poll, finished eighth in the ACC coaches' poll with 46 total points.
Miami, one of a record nine ACC teams to compete in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, collected 33 points in the coaches' voting, followed by NC State (21) and Clemson (16).
Duke's long list of returnees from last season's 22-4-1 team includes ACC Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Anasi. 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, 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, 19 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.
The 2012 ACC Women's Soccer Coaches' Poll, with first-place votes in parenthesis: