North Carolina women are choice to win ACC

Defending national champion North Carolina is the near-unanimous pick to win the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference title, as determined by a vote of the league's 11 head coaches. In addition, it marks the second year in a row that UNC, Florida State and Virginia have been predicted to finish as the top three teams in the league, respectively.

The Tar Heels, who captured their second-straight ACC Championship and 17th overall title in 2006, return 20 letterwinners from last year's squad that claimed its 18th NCAA crown and finished the season with an overall record of 27-1-0, including a perfect 10-0-0 mark in league play. Despite the loss of Soccer America Player of the Year Heather O'Reilly to graduation, the Tar Heels boast several All-ACC performers among their returning starters including ACC Offensive Player of the Year Yael Averbuch and Jessica Maxwell, Tobin Heath and Nikki Washington.

Despite heavy losses, Florida State should be solid. The Seminoles, who went 18-4-4 overall and 5-2-3 in league action in 2006, return 13 letterwinners and six starters including All-American Katrin Schmidt and Japanese midfielder Mami Yamaguchi. Last season, Florida State returned to the College Cup for the second year in a row and third time in the last four years.

Virginia returns 18 letterwinners and eight starters for the second straight year. Back in the lineup for the Cavaliers include All-Americans Becky Sauerbrunn and Jess Rostedt and all-conference pick Nikki Krzysik.

Completing the preseason poll in order of projected finish are Boston College (86), Duke (74), Wake Forest (73), Clemson (60), Virginia Tech (36), Maryland (35), N.C. State (26) and Miami (23).

Next story loading loading..