DURHAM, N.C. – The Blue Devils boasted a league-best three student-athletes on the Preseason All-ACC Field Hockey Team, as released Friday by the conference office.
Senior midfielder Margaux Paolino, redshirt senior goalkeeper Sammi Steele and senior back Jillian Wolgemuth represented the Blue Devils on the 2019 preseason All-ACC squad, while Duke was picked to finish second in the ACC by a vote of the league’s seven head coaches.
A returning first team All-America selection, Paolino is coming off of a summer that saw her compete in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League and at the 2019 Pan American Games with the U.S. senior women’s national team. Last fall, she tied for first on the team and seventh in the ACC with nine assists in 22 contests. Paolino added six goals during the 2018 campaign for a career-best 21 points.
Steele ranked third in the ACC and was top-20 nationally with a 1.46 goals against average a year ago. She totaled 66 saves and compiled a .673 save percentage to go along with a 16-6 record. Steele also guided Duke’s back line to eight shutouts en route to receiving first team National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-South Region and second team All-ACC recognition.
Wolgemuth was also crucial to the Blue Devils’ defensive success in 2018 and served as one of the squad’s key personnel on attack penalty corners, wrapping up her junior campaign with two goals and four assists. She helped the back line record a 1.47 goals against average for the season and collected the first all-region honor of her career while also earning a spot on the All-ACC second team.
Duke was picked to finish second in the preseason rankings, behind only reigning NCAA champion North Carolina, which led the way with six first-place votes and 48 total points. The Blue Devils received one first-place vote and 43 points, followed by Virginia (29 points), Louisville (25) and Syracuse (18). Boston College (17) and Wake Forest (16) rounded out the preseason poll.
The Blue Devils host North Carolina in exhibition action Saturday at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The contest, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11 a.m.
Following Saturday’s exhibition contest, Duke kicks off the 2019 campaign Friday, Aug. 30 at home, hosting Penn State at 6 p.m. on ACCNX.
2019 ACC Field Hockey Preseason Poll
1. North Carolina (48 points, 6 first-place votes)
2. Duke (43 points 1 first-place vote)
3. Virginia (29 points)
4. Louisville (25 points)
5. Syracuse (18 points)
6. Boston College (17 points)
7. Wake Forest (16 points)
2019 Preseason All-ACC Field Hockey Team
Fusine Govaert, Jr., M, Boston College
Margaux Paolino, Sr., M, Duke
Jillian Wolgemuth, Sr., B, Duke
Sammi Steele, RSr., G, Duke
Mercedes Pastor, Jr., M, Louisville
Yentl Leemans, Sr., M, North Carolina
Erin Matson, So., F, North Carolina
Claire Webb, Sr., B, Syracuse
Rachel Robinson, Jr., M, Virginia
Amber Ezechiels, So., B, Virginia
Anne van Hoof, Jr., B, Wake Forest