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Mollie Pathman, Kelly Cobb, Laura Weinberg, Kaitlyn Kerr celebrate at the NCAA College Cup
Courtesy: Duke Photography
Mollie Pathman, Kelly Cobb, Laura Weinberg, Kaitlyn Kerr celebrate at the NCAA College Cup
Blue Devils Top ACC Preseason Women’s Soccer Poll
Tuesday 08/10/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C.- The ACC released the preseason women’s soccer poll on Friday with Duke receiving 10-of-11 first place votes and was tabbed the league favorite for the first time in school history. 

The Blue Devils received 119 total points to be selected No. 1, while Wake Forest (99), Florida State (94), North Carolina (92), Virginia (89), Boston College (66), Maryland (51), Virginia Tech (46), Miami (33), N.C. State (21) and Clemson (16) rounded out the preseason poll.  Florida State received the other first place vote.  All 11 league head coaches voted on the preseason poll. 

“It is an honor to be picked No. 1 in this conference,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church.  “It is the toughest women’s soccer conference in the country.  It has great teams, players and coaches – up and down this league.  To be picked No. 1 is a great honor, but we want to finish No. 1 at the end of the year.  This is the direction we wanted our program to go in and we are very proud to be picked No. 1.”

Since 1992 when the ACC began releasing the preseason poll, no program besides North Carolina has been picked to win the league crown prior to the Blue Devils being selected in 2012.  The previous high for Duke in the ACC preseason poll was No. 2 in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

Duke returns all 11 starters from last season’s NCAA College Cup finalist squad, including 89 percent of its scoring.  Church and the Blue Devils captured the ACC regular season crown in 2011 with an 8-1 mark in the league.  Duke, which posted a school-record 22 victories in 2011, has been preseason ranked No. 2 nationally in the NSCAA ledger behind reigning NCAA Champion Stanford. 

The Blue Devils will be led by three captains in 2012 -- senior Tara Campbell, redshirt junior Kim DeCesare and redshirt junior Callie Simpkins – along with a total of five seniors – Nicole Lipp, Libby Jandl, Maddy Haller, Erin Koballa.  Returning starters for the Blue Devils in 2012 include Campbell, Lipp, Jandl, Haller, Koballa, Mollie Pathman, Laura Weinberg, Kaitlyn Kerr, Gilda Doria, Natasha Anasi and Kelly Cobb.

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).

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 and a first team All-America selection.  As a team, Duke notched a school-record 16 shutouts last year. 

Other returning letterwinners for the Blue Devils include Simpkins, DeCesare, Avery Rape, Alex Straton, Audrey Gibson, Katie Trees, Katy Colas, Erin O’Connor, Tabria Williford, Anastasia Hunt and Meghan Thomas.  Ali Kershner, a 5-11 goalkeeper, redshirted last season and will suit up in 2012 as well.

Duke welcomes a solid recruiting class in 2012 that includes Kelly McCann, Cassie Pecht, Kara Wilson, Sammie Thomas, Danielle Duhl and Courtney McDaniel. 

The Blue Devils will open the 2012 campaign on Friday, Aug. 17 at William & Mary and will host its first home contest on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 6:00 p.m., against Elon at Koskinen Stadium.

The 2012 ACC Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll, with first-place votes in parenthesis:

School                         Points         2011 Record
  1.  Duke (10).................. 119...... 22-4-1 (8-1-1)

  2.  Wake Forest ............... 99...... 18-4-4 (5-2-3)
  3.  Florida State (1)........... 94...... 18-7-1 (5-5-0)
  4.  North Carolina ............ 92...... 13-5-2 (6-3-1)
  5.  Virginia........................ 89...... 17-5-2 (7-2-1)
  6.  Boston College............ 66...... 12-6-3 (6-4-0)
  7.  Maryland..................... 51...... 12-6-4 (4-4-2)
  8.  Virginia Tech............... 46...... 14-8-1 (4-5-1)
  9.  Miami.......................... 33...... 10-8-1 (3-6-1)
10. NC State...................... 21...... 10-8-2 (1-7-2)
11.  Clemson..................... 16.... 6-12-0 (0-10-0)


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