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Aug. 25, 1998

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-The University of Virginia field hockey team was ranked #1 today in the preseason poll by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. The top ranking marks the third consecutive year that the Cavaliers have reached the top of the national polls. It is the first time that the Cavaliers have been ranked in the top spot in the preseason poll.

The Cavaliers return 10 starters from last years 19-3 team that advanced to the national semifinals for the first time in school history. The 19 wins ties the Cavalier record for most wins in a season. In addition, the Hoos led the nation last year in scoring defense, allowing less than a goal per game (.818). The nations top-ranked goalies, Ellen Wiese (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) and Becky Worthington (Fairview Village, Pa./Methacton) both return. Three members from the US National Senior squad also return for the Cavaliers: Michelle Vizzuso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex), Lori Mastropietro (Richboro, Pa./Council Rock), and Meridith Thorpe (St. Louis, Mo./John Burroughs). Thorpe is Virginias all-time leading scorer with 183 points and she ranks third all-time in the ACC, just 29 points out of the top spot. In addition, eight other Cavaliers are currently on US squads.

Virginia is coached by Missi Sanders, the 1997 NFHCA Coach of the Year.

The Cavaliers open up at the inaugural ACC-Big 10 Challenge in St. Louis on September 5. The game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked 13th, will start at 5:00 pm. The Cavaliers return home on Thursday, September 10 as they take on the #7 Northeastern Huskies at 7:00 pm.

The entire poll is listed below (first place votes in parentheses)

	 1. University of Virginia (5)	 2. Old Dominion University  	 3. Princeton University  	 4. University of North Carolina  	 5. Penn State University  	 6. University of Maryland  	 7. Northeastern University  	 8. University of Connecticut   	 9. James Madison University  	10. Ball State University  	11. University of Michigan  	12. American University  	13. Ohio State University  	14. Boston College  	15. Kent State University  	16. Syracuse University  (tie) University of Massachusetts 	18. Duke University 	19. University of Delaware	20. Boston University  (tie) University of Iowa
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