In The Top Drawer

Photo courtesy UNC Athletic Communications

Jessie Scarpa hasn’t played in a collegiate soccer game in almost 21 months, but that hasn’t stopped her from picking up some preseason honors ahead of the North Carolina women’s soccer team’s 2017 opener. named Scarpa, a redshirt junior, to its preseason Best XI team Monday. This isn’t the first time she’s been honored by the website, as she earned third-team Best XI honors after her sophomore year in 2015.

Scarpa and redshirt freshman defender Taylor Otto missed the 2016 season while competing for the U.S. women’s national team in the U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea. She will be UNC’s starting center forward when the team opens the season Friday against Duke, and is expected to be among the Tar Heels’ top contributors in 2017.

A Lakeland, Fla., native, Scarpa joined North Carolina in 2014 and played in 18 games while recovering from an ACL tear she suffered in her senior year of high school. She moved permanently to the top line in 2015, a season in which she led the Tar Heels in assists (8) and ranked second in goals (8) and points (24). She also earned first-team All-ACC honors that season.

UNC freshman Lotte Wubben-Moy earned some praise from Top Drawer Soccer as well, earning preseason freshman Best XI honors. The Tar Heels will be without Wubben-Moy for their first two games as she and fellow freshman Alessia Russo compete with the English national team at the UEFA Under-19 Championships.

Wubben-Moy is expected to slide into the starting center back position when she joins the team. She and Scarpa will hope to end a four-season title drought for North Carolina in 2017.