North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse picked by ACC coaches as top three teams in preseason poll

Four out of the seven Atlantic Coast Conference head field coaches picked North Carolina, the reigning champions, as favorites to claim the 2023 championship

Four out of the seven Atlantic Coast Conference head field coaches picked North Carolina, the reigning champions, as favorites to claim the 2023 championship.


Here are the details from the ACC.


“Virginia narrowly was second, as UNC finished with 45 total points and the Cavaliers totaled 42 points.  Syracuse finished with 32 points to earn the No. 3 spot in the standings and was followed by Louisville (24), Boston College (22), Wake Forest (17) and Duke (14).


The league also unveiled its 2023 Preseason All-ACC Team. All seven teams had at least one player selected to the 11-member squad, all of whom were also named to the 2022 All-ACC Team, including five first-team honorees: Margo Carlin (Boston College), Hannah Miller (Duke), Julie Kouijzer (Louisville), Ryleigh Heck (North Carolina), Daniela Mendez-Trendler (Virginia). Heck was the 2022 ACC Freshman of the Year.


Louisville’s Aimee Plumb, UNC’s Sietske Brüning, Syracuse’s Charlotte de Vries and Eefke van den Nieuwenhof and Wake Forest’s Nat Friedman and Ellie Todd each were second-team honorees following the 2022 season.


Aiming to repeat as national champions, North Carolina has new leadership in 2023 as program legend Erin Matson takes over the reigns from Karen Shelton, who retired after 42 seasons and an NCAA-record 745 wins and 10 national championships. Matson played on four NCAA Championship teams and five ACC Championship teams. She was a three-time recipient of the Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey, becoming just the second player ever – after Shelton – to win that honor three times. She finished her career as the all-time scoring leader in both ACC history and NCAA Tournament play.


The ACC leads all conferences with 22 NCAA field hockey titles. The conference has placed at least one team in the national championship game in 30 of the past 34 seasons, including four of the last five NCAA titles by North Carolina (2018-2020, 2022).


ACC teams open regular-season play Friday with a busy non-conference slate that includes four ACC-Big Ten matchups – Duke playing host to Indiana, North Carolina at home against Michigan, Wake Forest versus Iowa at UNC’s Shelton Stadium and Penn State at Virginia.


A total of 12 games involving ACC teams are scheduled over the weekend, including the first two ACC Network telecasts of the season on Friday, with Wake Forest-Iowa at 6 p.m. and North Carolina-Michigan at 8:30 p.m.


The first conference games are set for Friday, Sept. 15. Virginia will host this year’s ACC Championship from Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


2023 ACC Field Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll
1. North Carolina (4), 45
2. Virginia (3), 42
3. Syracuse, 32
4. Louisville, 24
5. Boston College, 22
6. Wake Forest, 17
7. Duke, 14


First-place votes in parentheses


2023 Preseason All-ACC Team
Margo Carlin, F, Gr., Boston College
Hannah Miller, F, Gr., Duke
Julie Kouijzer, D, 5th, Louisville
Aimee Plumb, F, Sr., Louisville
Ryleigh Heck, F, So., North Carolina
Sietske Brüning, M, So., North Carolina
Charlotte de Vries, F, Gr., Syracuse
Eefke van den Nieuwenhof, B, Sr., Syracuse
Daniela Mendez-Trendler, M, So., Virginia
Nat Friedman, M, Gr., Wake Forest
Ellie Todd, GK, So., Wake Forest

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