Coming off its first national championship last season, expectations will once again be high for the Syracuse Orange. The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) ranked SU second overall to start to the 2016 campaign, according to the poll released this morning. They received 25 of 48 first-place votes, falling just short to fellow ACC squad North Carolina, which was 18 points ahead. The Orange defeated the Tar Heels in the national championship game last season.
Oddly, while they’re ranked second nationally, ACC coaches picked Syracuse third in that conference. The preseason coaches poll and All-ACC team was also released today, and both North Carolina and Virginia sit in front of the Orange. SU placed a pair of juniors, Lies Lagerweij and Laura Hurff on the all-conference team as well.
Since SU fell just one point short of second-place in the ACC poll, it’s tough to really argue too much. The ACC is clearly a very deep league, and the competition at the top is tough, featuring many of the nation’s top squads. Along with UNC and Syracuse, Duke (fourth), Virginia (fifth), Wake Forest (seventh) and Boston College (eighth) also appeared among the top 10. The seventh and last ACC squad, Louisville, was 12th overall.
Syracuse’s 2016 title defense begins this Friday, August 26 in Philadelphia, when they take on Temple, and then Maryland on Sunday. The Orange’s home opener is on Friday, Sept. 9 against Boston College — the first potential #OrangeEagle points of the season.