Florida State slotted second in the annual preseason poll, North Carolina Named 2023 ACC Women’s Soccer Preseason Favorite

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Coming off a trip to the National Championship, North Carolina has been selected as the preseason favorite following a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches.

The Tar Heels, who were ranked No. 2 in the Preseason United Soccer Coaches Poll released last week, are coming off a 20-win season and their 31st appearance in the College Cup. UNC, which received 10 first-place votes and 166 points, returns nine starters to this year’s squad, including preseason All-ACC Team members Maycee Bell, Sam Meza and Ally Sentnor.

Defending ACC champion Florida State was slotted second in the annual preseason poll after receiving two first-place votes and 146 points. Despite advancing to their third consecutive College Cup, the Seminoles saw their season cut short with a 3-2 loss to North Carolina. FSU returns eight starters to a team that finished 17-3-3 a season ago, including preseason All-ACC honorees Jody Brown and Cristina Roque.

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Virginia was slotted third with 139 points and a first-place vote after closing 2022 with 16 victories. The Cavaliers earned a trip to the national quarterfinal for the ninth time in program history but fell to eventual national champion UCLA in overtime. Maggie Cagle, who ranked second in the ACC with 12 assists last season, was the lone Cavalier to land on the Preseason All-ACC Team.

Notre Dame, which ended last season with 17 wins and a national quarterfinal appearance, finished fourth with 134 points. At the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the Fighting Irish won three of the ACC’s six annual awards, including Eva Gaetino earning Defensive Player of the Year honors. Gaetino, who one of the four ACC players named to the United Soccer Coaches Defenders to Watch list earlier this month, is one of three defenders to be named to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

Duke claimed the final first-place vote and finished with 126 to claim the fifth spot. The Blue Devils return five starters to a squad thar finished with 15 wins and earned a spot in last year’s national quarterfinals. Forward Kat Rader, the lone Duke player on this year’s Preseason All-ACC team, was named the 2022 ACC Freshman of the Year following a 12-goal season.

Clemson finished sixth with 104 points, while Pitt closely followed for the seventh position with 103 points. The Tigers landed two on this year’s Preseason All-ACC team with defender Megan Bornkamp and midfielder Hal Hershfelt. Pitt striker Amanda West also earned a spot on this year’s Preseason All-ACC team, as the Panthers are coming off a historic run to the Round of 16 in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

Wake Forest (87 points), Virginia Tech (81), and NC State (62) round out the top 10. Wolfpack forward Jameese Joseph tallied eight goals a season ago and claimed a spot on this season’s Preseason All-ACC team.

Louisville (47 points), Syracuse (35), Miami (24) and Boston College (20) close out this year’s poll.

Led by North Carolina’s No. 2 spot, seven ACC teams were ranked in the Preseason United Soccer Coaches Poll, headlined by five teams in the top 10. Following the Tar Heels were Notre Dame (No. 3), Duke (No. 4), Virginia (No. 5), Florida State (No. 6), Pitt (No 14) and Clemson (No. 25). Virginia Tech is currently receiving votes.

The 2023 ACC women’s soccer regular season kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 17, with all 14 ACC programs in action. League play opens on Friday, Sept. 15, with four key matchups. The 2023 ACC Women’s Championship starts Sunday, Oct. 29, on campus sites before moving to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, for the semifinals and championship match on Nov. 2 and 5, respectively.

2023 ACC Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll

  1. North Carolina (10) 166
  2. Florida State (2) 146
  3. Virginia (1) 139
  4. Notre Dame 134
  5. Duke (1) 126
  6. Clemson 104
  7. Pitt 103
  8. Wake Forest 87
  9. Virginia Tech 81
  10. NC State 62
  11. Louisville 47
  12. Syracuse 35
  13. Miami 24
  14. Boston College 20

2023 Women’s Soccer Preseason All-ACC Team

Megan Bornkamp, Sr., D, Clemson

Hal Hershfelt, Gr., M, Clemson

Kat Rader, So., F, Duke

Jody Brown, Sr., F, Florida State

Cristina Roque, Sr., GK, Florida State

Maycee Bell, Sr., D, North Carolina

Sam Meza, Sr., M, North Carolina

Ally Sentnor, So., M/F, North Carolina

Jameese Joseph, Sr., F, NC State

Eva Gaetino, Sr., D, Notre Dame

Amanda West, 5th Year, F, Pitt

Maggie Cagle, So., F, Virginia

* Note: one additional honoree because of a tie in the voting

Author: West Lamy

My passport requires no photograph. Experienced play-by-play broadcaster and multimedia sports journalist with years of producing and covering sports. WORLDWIDEWEST is a journey; in this journey my feet don't get blisters, but my shoes do.

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