First Posted: 5/27/2014
In the aftermath of the Olympics, the chance to play in a Field Hockey World Cup drove Paige Selenski.
Selenski has that chance beginning today.
The Dallas High School graduate arrived in The Hague, Netherlands on top of her game.
In her most recent international outing, Selenski scored the game-tying goal and was named Player of the Match May 4 in Scotland when the United States defeated Ireland, 3-1, to win the title of the Champions Challenge.
U.S. coach Craig Parnham, who took over in January 2013, was so pleased with the team’s play in Scotland that he selected the same lineup of 18 for the World Cup from a pool of 29 national team players.
Selenski is one of three former Wyoming Valley Conference players on the World Cup roster. Half of the team’s strikers are from the WVC, including Wyoming Seminary graduates Kelsey Kolojejchick and Kathleen Sharkey.
“It’s good to have players who are familiar to me also playing on the national level,” Selenski, the 2007 Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year who finished her career at the University of Virginia as the eighth-leading scorer in NCAA Division I history, said in an interview last year. “Knowing that there are three girls out of (29) show how much talent comes out of our area.”
At the same time, Selenski pointed to the World Cup as joining the Olympics as the two most prestigious events which field hockey players aspired to reach. She was among 11 players from the 2012 London Olympic team to also make it to the World Cup by achieving two goals, continuing to make the national team roster and helping the United States through the qualification process that limits the field to the top 12 teams in the world.
“To qualify for a World Cup and the Olympic Games is not an easy journey and I must commend the players for qualifying for this World Cup,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham said.
The 18-player U.S. roster features 10 players from Pennsylvania, along with three from New Jersey, two each from New York and Virginia and one from North Carolina.
USA Field Hockey moved its women’s national team training base from California to Lancaster last year.
“The relocation to Pennsylvania has definitely helped the program,” Parnham said. “Many players have close family links near the training facility, giving them the opportunity to see friends and family more than usual.
“Historically, the area has a long hockey history here and it’s nice for the local hockey community to interact and see the players. Hopefully they will be tuning in and watching the World Cup.”
Selenski scored the final U.S. goal in London, but it came in a 2-1 loss to Belgium that sealed a last-place finish in the 12-team Olympic field.
The United States is ranked 10th going into the World Cup and opens pool play today against third-seeded England. Pool play continues through June 10 with the final scheduled for June 14.