Four members of the Virginia field hockey team were named to the 2012 preseason All-ACC team. The Cavaliers were also picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll.
Virginia led the league with four selections to the preseason All-ACC team with Elly Buckley, Jennifer Johnstone, Paige Selenski, and Michelle Vittese all earning a spot on the team. Maryland, North Carolina, and Wake Forest have two players apiece, and one Duke Blue Devil garnered accolades.
Buckley paced the Virginia offense last season with a team-best 17 goals and nine assists for 43 points. Buckley, a NFHCA second team All-American, was named to both the 2011 All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament teams.
Johnstone, the Cavaliers primary goalkeeper last season, played in all 20 games with 18 starts as a freshman. She was the lone Virginia player to earn ACC Player of the Week honors last season when she logged a career-best 14 saves against Duke in the 2011 regular-season finale.
Selenski, a three-time first team All-American, returns to the Cavaliers after taking a year off to play with the US National team. Selenski is currently ranked third on the Virginia career points list (171) and career goals scored list (73) as well as ranking tenth in the career assist list (25).
Vittese, a two-time All-American, also returns to the Virginia lineup after taking a year off to play with the US National team. She and Selenski were part of the gold medal-winning squad at the Pan Am games and both saw significant playing time at the London Olympics.
In addition to the release of the preseason All-ACC honors, the conference also announced the results of the preseason poll with the league coaches predicting a third-place finish for the Cavaliers.
“It’s not where you start, it is where you finish,” said Cavalier head coach Michele Madison. “Our goal is not to focus on the prize, but on the journey. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for the ACC. All of the teams are competitive. Every single team can win the ACC championship. It is just a matter of who can get it done on that day in that game.”
2011 National Champion Maryland received three first place votes and is the preseason favorite to claim the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Championship. Defending ACC Champion North Carolina was picked second with 22 points, ahead of Virginia with 15 points. Duke (14 points), Wake Forest (10 points), and Boston College (six points) round out the field.
“All teams in the ACC are potential top-10 teams and playing against each other makes us all better,” Madison said. “It is a fiercely competitive conference. One goal will separate us all in the end. That is why the ACC dominates.”
The 2012 season gets started Friday, August 24th with Virginia taking on Temple in Philadelphia, Pa. The 2012 ACC Field Hockey Championship will be held November 1, 2, and 4 at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.