Deacs Picked Third Nationally in NSCAA Preseason Poll
Aug. 7, 2012
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - On the heels of its College Cup performance last season, the Wake Forest women's soccer team earned the No. 3 spot in the NSCAA's 2012 national preseason poll, marking the Demon Deacons' highest-ever preseason pick by any publication.
Wake Forest returns 10 starters from the 2011 team that went 18-4-4, reaching the College Cup for the first time in program history and also making a repeat trip to the ACC Championship match where the Demon Deacons narrowly missed out on winning their second-straight conference title.
Headlining the returnees are All-Americans Katie Stengel and Aubrey Bledsoe. Stengel was named the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year after setting new Wake Forest single-season records with 19 goals and 46 points. The Deacons will have to go without her for the first half of the 2012 season though, as she will be representing the United States at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, which will be held in Japan beginning on Aug. 20.
Bledsoe was solid in goal for the Demon Deacons last year, boasting a 0.74 goals against average and recording a school-record 14 shutouts.
Also returning for Wake Forest is forward Rachel Nuzzolese, who notched 12 goals and 31 points as a sophomore in 2011, along with experienced defenders Jackie Logue, Alisha Woodson and Kim Marshall, and midfielders Kristen Meier, Ally Berry, Riley Ridgik, Marisa Park and Jackie McSally.
Wake Forest will play its lone exhibition match of the preseason on Saturday at College of Charleston at 7 p.m. before it opens regular-season play on Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. against Richmond in Blacksburg, Va.