NFHCA Preseason Poll
What does the NFHCA Preseason Poll have in store for teams across the ACC? Undoubtedly, quite a lot as the conference dominated the landscape in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that will change this season.
The Duke Blue Devils, led by NFHCA Division I South Regional Coach of the Year, Pam Bustin, ended last year as the top ranked team in the nation. Duke also went into the postseason as the top seed in the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.
Bustin may face a greater challenge in repeating that performance. Only one NFHCA 2016 All American, Alyssa Chillano, returns this season for Duke.
Louisville head coach Justine Sowry, the NFHCA Division I West Regional Coach of the Year, brings back first team junior goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran. The Cardinals have an opportunity to make it their fourth straight NCAA postseason appearance. Sowry must find the right combination to push Louisville deeper into postseason play.
North Carolina, a 2016 national championship contender, may find the road to post season action a bit more challenging. The Tar Heels will be without the services of three NFHCA 2016 All Americans. Julia Young, Emma Bozek and Lauren Moyer have graduated and leave big shoes to fill.
NFHCA Preseason Poll – ACC Nation Podcast
In total, fifteen field hockey players from ACC teams earned NFHCA 2016 All America honors. Six of those players have moved on after graduating.
Syracuse returns three players from the All America list. Lies Lagerweij, Roos Weers and Laura Hurff help stack the deck for the Orange.
Boston College has two solid depth players returning. Frederique Haverhals from the first team and Ymke Rose Gote from the third team provide leadership for the Eagles.
Another first team player to keep an eye on this season is Tara Vittese at Virginia.
NFHCA Preseason Poll – The ACC Coaches Pick
The Field Hockey Preseason ACC Coaches Poll spreads the first place votes out among five teams. Duke and Syracuse each receive 2 first place votes but neither were selected as the team to beat.
North Carolina picked up 31 overall points with 1 first place vote. The Tar Heels bettered Duke and Syracuse, who tied for second place, by 4 points.
Also receiving first place votes were Louisville and Virginia with 1 apiece.
The 2017 Preseason All ACC Field Hockey Team is a veritable who’s who of talent. Louisville topped all teams with three picks, Syracuse and North Carolina with two and Boston College, Duke, Virginia and Wake Forest each have 1 player on the list.
- Frederique Haverhals, Boston College
- Alyssa Chillano, Duke
- Ayeisha McFerran, Louisville
- Minout Mink, Louisville
- Nicole Woods, Louisville
- Ashley Hoffman, North Carolina
- Eva van’t Hoog, North Carolina
- Laura Hurff, Syracuse
- Roos Weers, Syracuse
- Tara Vittese, Virginia
- Nicola Pluta, Wake Forest
NFHCA Preseason Poll – The National Rankings
Now that we know how the coaches from within the conference feel about their counterparts, let’s look at the NFHCA Preseason Poll.
The ACC places all seven teams in the top 15 of the poll including three of the top 5 positions.
- #1 North Carolina
- #2 Duke
- #5 Syracuse
- #9 Louisville
- #10 Virginia
- #12 Boston College
- #15 Wake Forest
The season gets into full swing this weekend and not in a small way. Among the action, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will feature four ranked teams. A total of six of the seven ACC teams are scheduled to face ranked opponents.