DURHAM, N.C. – Duke will kick off the 2019 campaign ranked among the top three teams in the country, as the Blue Devils came in at No. 3 in the preseason edition of the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll Tuesday.
Head coach Pam Bustin’s squad also rounded out the 2018 campaign ranked third following the program’s sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA quarterfinals.
All seven ACC programs were ranked among the top 25 in the preseason poll conducted by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Reigning national champion North Carolina came in atop the rankings with 31 first-place votes, followed by Maryland and Duke, which received two first-place votes. Connecticut and Princeton rounded out the national top five. Other ranked ACC teams included No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 11 Virginia, No. 12 Louisville, No. 13 Boston College and No. 18 Syracuse.
Tuesday’s release marked the sixth straight year the Blue Devils have been tabbed a top-five team in the NFHCA’s preseason rankings.
Bustin’s squad was picked to finish second in the ACC by a vote of the conference’s seven head coaches last week. The Blue Devils boasted a league-best three student-athletes on the Preseason All-ACC Field Hockey Team in senior midfielder Margaux Paolino, redshirt senior goalkeeper Sammi Steele and senior back Jillian Wolgemuth.
Fourteen of Duke’s 19 opponents were listed in Tuesday’s national preseason poll, including the two teams on the slate this weekend. The Blue Devils host No. 9 Penn State in Friday’s season opener at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, which is schedule for a 6 p.m. start on ACCNX. Duke then travels to No. 25 William & Mary Sunday for a 1 p.m. matchup in Williamsburg, Va.