DURHAM, N.C. – The NSCAA released its preseason top 25 poll on Tuesday with the Duke women’s soccer team being tabbed No. 2 nationally, which is the highest preseason listing in school history.
The Blue Devils were selected No. 2 behind Stanford, while Wake Forest, Florida State, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Virginia, North Carolina, Penn State and Pepperdine in the top 10. The previous highest preseason ranking in school history was No. 3 in 1993.
Duke returns all 11 starters, including first team All-America Natasha Anasi and third team All-America Kaitlyn Kerr. The Blue Devils welcome back a total of 22 letterwinners and 91 percent of their scoring from a team that advanced to the NCAA College Cup, won the ACC regular season title and posted a 22-4-1 overall mark.
On the offensive end, the Blue Devils return 11 student-athletes who scored one or more goals last year, including the top five scorers from a year ago. The Blue Devils’ top returning scorer’s in 2012 include Cobb (11 goals), Kerr (11 goals), Weinberg (8 goals) and Pathman (6 goals).
Duke will be without the services of Cobb & Pathman for the first nine matches of the 2012 season as the duo are traveling with the U.S. U-20 World Cup squad to Japan. Cobb and Pathman are expected to return to the team in time for ACC action to start on Sept. 13 at Florida State.
For the third straight year, Duke returns its entire defensive unit led by two-time All-ACC goalkeeper Campbell. Haller, Koballa, Jandl and Anasi concluded the season as the starting back line. Campbell, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, has totaled 27 shutouts and started 68 matches played in goal since arriving in 2009. Anasi, who is a product of Arlington, Texas, Anasi was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. As a team, Duke notched a school-record 16 shutouts last year.
A total of eight ACC teams are ranked in the top 25 – Duke (2), Wake Forest (3), Florida State (4), Virginia (7), North Carolina (8), Boston College (11), Maryland (13) and Virginia Tech (22). The Blue Devil schedule features nine teams ranked in the top 25 and three that received votes.
Duke will travel to South Carolina on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7:00 p.m., for an exhibition match. The 2012 season will officially kick off on Friday, Aug. 17 at William & Mary with a start time of 7:00 p.m. Duke features nine home contests this season with all home games being played at Koskinen Stadium.