DURHAM – The United Soccer Coaches released its preseason top-25 ledger on Tuesday with the Duke women’s soccer team coming in at No. 2 nationally.
The No. 2 ranking is tied for the highest preseason listing in school history along with the 2015 and 2011 squads. Overall, the Blue Devils have been placed in the top-10 of the United Soccer Coaches preseason ledger in seven of the last eight years under the direction of head coach Robbie Church.
Florida State received five first-place votes and a total of 192 points, while Duke earned two first-place votes and 181 points. Rounding out the top-10 were Brigham Young, Virginia, Santa Clara, Rutgers, TCU, Arkansas, Michigan and North Carolina.
A total of six ACC teams were listed in the preseason poll – Florida State (1), Duke (2), Virginia (4), North Carolina (10), Notre Dame (16) and Clemson (25).
The Blue Devils will face a challenging schedule in 2022 as Duke is slated to take on nine teams in the poll – Florida State (1), Virginia (4), TCU (7), North Carolina (10), Tennessee (11), South Carolina (12), UCLA (13), Notre Dame (16) and Clemson (25).
Duke returns eight starters from a season ago, including 18 letterwinners off a 2021 squad that registered 16 victories, made a trip to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked No. 5 nationally. The Blue Devils collected a 16-4-1 ledger last season, while turning in a 7-2-1 mark in ACC action.
Among the returning starters for the Blue Devils are leading scorer and reigning National Freshman of the Year Michelle Cooper, starting goalkeeper Ruthie Jones and All-American Sophie Jones. Duke’s roster is boosted by the return of two starters using their fifth year – Mackenzie Pluck and Delaney Graham – and the addition of graduate transfer Jenna Royson. Church also brought in another top recruiting class, which included three in the top-10 of the TopDrawerSoccer.com listing.
Cooper and freshman Carina Lageyre will miss some time in August due to representing the United States in the U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica.
Fans can follow along with Duke’s preseason adventures by following the program on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeWSoc”.