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Aug. 27, 2015 — NCAA Division I preview

The Fearless 5ive

Albany: The Danes’ three leading point-getters — Laura Page, Paula Heuser, and Fiori Van Rijswijk — return. This is a confident team that could be on the top step of the podium in November. They’re that good
Connecticut: Huskies are extremely strong in the back seven and have plenty of flair and creativity. A third straight national title is not out of the question
North Carolina: It’s the last go-round for Team USA’s Emily Wold, and the first go-round for National Federation all-time leading scorer Austyn Cuneo. But there’s only one ball to go around, and it will be interesting to see how the lineup evolves over the fall
Penn State: Lions should benefit from a pair of transfers, including Big Ten Freshman of the Year Moira Putsch, who was at Maryland last year
Syracuse: Jess Jecko and Alyssa Manley are game-changing players, and the Orange, having been perhaps a couple of inches away from winning last year’s title, are looking to parlay last year’s experience into a fall to remember

Five More To Watch

Boston College: With Kelly Doton as head coach, team will be accentuating set pieces, which means you will see a lot of Eryn and Emily McCoy
Duke: There is plenty of talent returning, including goalie Lauren Blazing and seniors Aileen Johnson and Hannah Barreca. But incoming freshmen Kristy Palazzese and Caroline Andreatta are the kinds of players who will give opposing ACC coaches nightmares
Maryland: Terps have lost a lot of speed from its attack line the last two years; who will support Alyssa Parker and Anna Dessoye up top? The transfer of Putsch cuts deeply here
Northwestern: The Wildcats have an experienced, senior-laden roster playing in the Big Ten. The team could very well win the regular-season title if they nick a win or two at the right moment
Stanford: The Cardinal set program records a season ago for wins, winning streak, and highest poll ranking. Can the Cardinals go deeper in the NCAAs this year? They’ll put a lot of their hopes on Kelsey Harbin

The Darkhorse

Liberty: The Flames came within a goal of upsetting North Carolina in last year’s NCAA tournament, and they return seven out of their eight leading goal-scorers from last season, so don’t let the result of last weekend’s friendly with the Heels fool you

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