North Carolina (14-3-4) receives its best final ranking since 2011 when the program was No. 1 following its NCAA Championship title that year.
The Tar Heels have finished inside the top-10 on eight occasions in the last nine seasons going back to the 2008 campaign. The eight appearances are tied with Maryland for the most top-10 finishes in that time frame.
Carolina reached the College Cup in 2016, and suffered a 10-9 penalty kick setback to eventual national champion Stanford in the semifinals. The match was played to a 0-0 draw through regulation and two overtime periods.
The Cardinal earned the No. 1 ranking, followed by College Cup participants Wake Forest and Denver in second and third, respectively.
The ACC dominated the Division I soccer landscape once again in 2016, placing eight teams among the top 14 ranked programs in the poll - Wake Forest (2), North Carolina (4), Clemson (5), Louisville (6), Virginia Tech (8), Syracuse (11), Virginia (13) and Notre Dame (14).