The 2016 college season looked different than usual, thanks in large part to the unfortunate timing of the U20 World Cup.
With some of the best incoming freshmen delaying entry, and a handful of other standouts redshirting the 2016 season, it left a few programs in a lurch.
One of those programs was the 2015 national champions, Penn State. With five players redshirting the season, the Nittany Lions still managed to stich together a very solid season. And heading into a new campaign, the return of Maddie Elliston, Kaleigh Riehl, Emily Ogle, Ellie Jean and Rose Chandler are a big reason the Nittany Lions enter the new season as the No. 1 ranked team in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25.
The Big Ten power is followed by Stanford, once again poised for another big season. Along with boasting the nation's top player in Andi Sullivan, the Cardinal are buoyed by the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
National runners up last fall, West Virginia check in at the third spot. Big pieces are gone in the form of Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence, though the Mountaineers bring back plenty of experience and quality in the form of Michaela Abam and Carla Portillo, to name a few.
ACC sides round out the top five, with Florida State and Duke following in that order. The Seminoles have another exciting blend of foreign and domestic stars ready to mak another national title run, while the Blue Devils bring back a strong roster that will focus on staying healthy.