Aug. 25, 2010

Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics

Defending NCAA Champion North Carolina has been ranked atop the 2010 field hockey preseason coaches' poll, announced on Tuesday. The Tar Heels received 25 out of 56 first-place votes, with 2009 runner-up Maryland just behind at 22. No. 3 Virginia received two first-place votes and No. 4 Princeton got seven. Both were NCAA semifinalists last year.

All six Atlantic Coast Conference teams are ranked among the top 10 heading into the season. After UNC, Maryland and Virginia in the top three spots, Wake Forest is No. 6, Boston College is No. 9 and Duke is No. 10. The ACC leads all conferences with six teams in the Top 20 poll.

The Kookaburra/NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Association) Division I poll is released each Tuesday throughout the season beginning on Sept. 7. Voting is by coaches who are members of the NFHCA.

UNC finished the 2009 season 20-2, claiming the sixth NCAA title in program history and the second in the past three years. The Tar Heels open the 2010 season at home this weekend, hosting Iowa, Michigan and Wake Forest in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Carolina meets Michigan Saturday at noon and Iowa at the same time on Sunday. Wake Forest plays the 2:30 p.m. game both days. All games will take place at Francis E. Henry Stadium on Ridge Road and there is no charge for admission.

2010 Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll
School, followed by points received in voting, with first place votes in parentheses

1. University of North Carolina 1072 (25)
2. University of Maryland 1053 (22)
3. University of Virginia 969 (2)
4. Princeton University 943 (7)
5. University of Connecticut 769
6. Wake Forest University 750
7. Michigan State University 744
8. Syracuse University 712
9. Boston College 456
10. Duke University 443
11. Drexel University 439
12. James Madison University 396
13. University of Louisville 308
14. Ohio State University 286
15. American University 247
16. Old Dominion University 234
17. Indiana University 227
18. Penn State University 211
19. University of Iowa 181
20. Stanford University 166