North Carolina Ranked No. 1 in Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll

North Carolina Ranked No. 1 in Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll

CHANDLER, Ariz. – The separation between North Carolina and Duke in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Preseason Poll on Tuesday rivaled that of the distance between the nearby archrivals as the Tar Heels took the No. 1 ranking while finishing just ahead of the Blue Devils at No. 2.

North Carolina earned the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll by recording 1,137 points and 14 first-place votes, while Duke was right behind at 1,081 points and 15 first-place votes. The Tar Heels were the national runners-up last season, while the Blue Devils entered the NCAA Tournament as the top-ranked team in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I poll.

Defending national champion Delaware checks in at No. 3 in the preseason ranking with 1,003 points and seven first-place votes, and was followed closely by Connecticut with 993 points and four first-place votes and Syracuse with 978 points to round out the top five.

Maryland came in sixth in the ranking with 949 points, and was followed in order by No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Princeton, No. 9 Louisville and No. 10 Virginia to round out the top ten. Each of the five schools received at least one first-place selection in the voting.

Michigan earned the No. 11 ranking, with Boston College at No. 12, Stanford at No. 13, Northwestern at No. 14 and Wake Forest at No. 15. The rest of the top 20 includes Boston University at No. 16, Iowa at No. 17, Albany at No. 18, James Madison at No. 19 and Harvard at No. 20.

The Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Poll now features 25 teams, and the ranking was rounded out by American at No. 21, Massachusetts at No. 22, Old Dominion at No. 23, Maine at No. 24 and both Pacific and Liberty tying for No. 25.

The 2017 season begins on Friday, and the opening weekend will feature 14 matchups between teams ranked in the preseason top 25. Four of those will take place in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Iowa City, with No. 1 North Carolina facing No. 11 Michigan and No. 15 Wake Forest at No. 17 Iowa on Saturday followed by North Carolina/Iowa and Michigan/Wake Forest in Sunday matchups. Three top-15 matchups will take place at Connecticut as the host and No. 4-ranked Huskies will welcome No. 13 Stanford on Friday and No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday while the Stanford/Northwestern matchup will be played on Saturday. No. 7 Penn State will play at a pair of ranked squads as it visits No. 23 Old Dominion on Friday and No. 10 Virginia on Sunday. No. 19 James Madison will visit No. 25 Liberty on Saturday, while the rest of Sunday’s top-25 matchups include No. 3 Delaware at No. 9 Louisville, No. 12 Boston College at No. 18 Albany, No. 5 Syracuse at No. 25 Pacific and No. 21 American at No. 23 Old Dominion.

The next Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll will be announced on Tuesday, September 5. The poll is voted on by NFHCA member coaches, and has no bearing on selection to the 2017 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll – August 22

Institution - Points (First-Place Votes)

1.     North Carolina - 1,137 (14)                               

2.     Duke - 1,081 (15)                               

3.     Delaware - 1,003 (7)                                 

4.     Connecticut - 993 (4)                        

5.     Syracuse - 978                                         

6.     Maryland - 949 (3)                                    

7.     Penn State - 879 (1)                        

8.     Princeton - 808 (2)                                    

9.     Louisville - 760 (1)                                    

10.  Virginia - 746 (1)                                    

11.  Michigan - 673                             

12.  Boston College - 666                                         

13.  Stanford - 617                                         

14.  Northwestern - 613                                         

15.  Wake Forest - 457                             

16.  Boston University - 443                                         

17.  Iowa - 340                                         

18.  Albany - 329                                         

19.  James Madison - 295                             

20.  Harvard - 289

21.  American - 249

22.  Massachusetts - 177

23.  Old Dominion - 151

24.  Maine - 124

25.  Pacific - 107

Liberty - 107