Soccer America Preseason Women's College Top 25

Defending champion Florida State is ranked No. 1 in Soccer America's College Women's Preseason Top 25 ahead of Pac-12 powers Stanford and UCLA and ACC rival North Carolina.

The Seminoles handed Stanford, the 2017 national champion, its only defeat of the season in the Women's College Cup semifinals and then beat North Carolina, which was seeking its 22nd NCAA title, in the final in a repeat of the ACC final they also won.

The win over UNC completed a run of four straight wins over recent national champions, what head coach Mark Krikorian dubbed a “murderers’ row.” The Seminoles beat 2016 champion USC in the third round and 2015 champion Penn State in the quarterfinals.

USC is ranked fifth and Penn State is sixth in the Preseason Top 25.

FSU lost Dallas Dorosy, the hero of FSU's 2017 postseason run with two goals and an assist on the game-winning goal in the ACC final against Carolina and three more goals in the NCAA Tournament, including the winner in the championship game.

But it got a boost when Venezuelan star Deyna Castellanos decided to return for her senior year. Also back are junior defender Malia Berkely and sophomore midfielders Jaelin Howell and Yujie Zhao.

Howell is one of top young players women's national team watchers will be following as the USA looks to introduce new talent into the program in the next four-year cycle.

Florida State is one of six teams from the ACC in the Preseason Top 25. The conference had seven teams reach the final 16 in 2018. Pac-12 has five teams in the Preseason Top 25, and the Big 12 and SEC have four each. The Big Ten is only other conference with multiple teams ranked with three.

Soccer America Preseason Women's College Top 25
1. Florida State (20-4-3)
2. Stanford (21-1-2)
3. UCLA (17-3-2)
4. North Carolina (20-4-2)
5. USC (17-2-3)
6. Penn State (18-6-1)
7. Georgetown (21-1-3)
8. Virginia (16-5-1)
9. Santa Clara (17-3-2)
10. Texas A&M (17-5-1)
11. Baylor (20-6-0)
12. Duke (16-4-2)
13. Vanderbilt (16-4-1)
14. West Virginia (15-4-4)
15. South Florida (14-4-0)
16. Tennessee (16-3-3)
17. Texas (13-5-3)
18. Rutgers (11-4-5)
19. South Carolina (14-6-1)
20. Texas Tech (14-5-2)
21. Wisconsin (14-4-4)
22. Clemson (12-9-0)
23. Washington State (13-6-1)
24. N.C. State (11-7-4)
25. Colorado (13-4-3)
Note: SA's Top 25 rankings will appear each Tuesday during the regular season.

Photo: Florida State/Larry Novey.

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