Former Wyoming Seminary field hockey player Ja Ja Kentwell had a successful trip with the United States men’s under-21 team during a five-game test series against developmental teams in New Zealand.
The trip concluded Sunday with the U.S. winning three games in the series against teams from Auckland and North Harbour.
Kentwell had goals in each of the first two games, both against squads from North Harbour. He had the game-winner in the opener against the North Harbour Selects in a 4-2 United States triumph.
Against a team made up of North Harbour’s premier league club members, Kentwell had the United States’ first goal in a 5-2 loss. His first-half tally cut the American deficit to 2-1.
Kentwell’s next action was to be with the National Indoor Team at the American Indoor Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile, later this month. However, the tournament was abruptly canceled earlier this month. No rescheduling information was available.
The cancellation of the tournament, originally scheduled for Aug. 28 to Sept. 2, also means the Women’s National Indoor Team will not be in action. Former Wyoming Seminary All-American AshLeigh Sebia and Dallas All-Stater Kirby Szalkowski are on the national team roster.
Penn State opens the season No. 9 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association top-25 poll released Tuesday.
Defending national champion Maryland is the top team for the second consecutive season, followed by ACC-rival North Carolina and CAA power Old Dominion.
The Wyoming Valley Conference boasts players either on active rosters or committed to 11 of the top-15 programs in the preseason rankings.
In Division II, West Chester (eight first-place votes) and Bloomsburg (one first-place vote) are 1-2 in the top-10 poll. West Chester features four Crestwood products – Kayla Gluchowski, Alisha Moran, Hannah Davies and Alexa Moran.
None of the local programs earned votes in the Division III top-20, which is paced by traditional power College of New Jersey. Ursinus, ranked No. 6, features Kara Bowen from Wyoming Valley West, Nora Kornfield from Wyoming Seminary and Danielle DeSpirito from Crestwood.
The Freedom Conference announced its preseason poll and King’s is the top local club.
King’s was ranked third in the eight-team loop, behind Eastern and Fairleigh Dickinson. The Monarchs have 13 former Wyoming Valley Conference players on their roster, led by seniors Calli Berryman (Holy Redeemer), Brittany Naylor (Pittston Area) and Stefanie Wingerter (Delaware Valley).
Misericordia and Wilkes tied for fifth slot in the rankings. The Cougars have added Crestwood graduate Lindsay Hischak for the upcoming campaign, while the Colonels have three players with local ties, led by senior Kaitlyn Bevans from Hazleton.
All three area colleges open their seasons at home on Friday, Aug. 31.
The early-season schedule brings a number of former high school stars now at Division I schools within driving distance for a day trip to a game.
Friday’s opening day to the season has four games bringing players to their home state – or close.
Paige Selenski (Dallas), fresh off her Olympic appearance, travels with No. 8 Virginia to play Friday at Temple and Sunday at Penn State.
Madeleine Hackett, a junior from Wyoming Seminary, joins No. 14 Boston University in games Friday at Delaware and Sunday at Rutgers.
No. 5 Duke features junior Devon Gagliardi, another Seminary grad, in games Friday at No. 24 Drexel and Sunday at Temple.
And Old Dominion opens its season at Penn State, pitting the Monarchs’ Kati Nearhouse (Nanticoke) against the Nittany Lions’ Kelsey Amy (Lake-Lehman), Jenna Chrismer (Crestwood) and Kylie Licata (Crestwood).
For some of these players with out-of-state schools, these will be their only appearances in Pennsylvania.
Also playing nearby before the high school season gets underway, Lafayette -- featuring Brittany Blass and Maria Machalick (Crestwood), as well as Szalkowski -- and Lehigh – with Sierra Segear (Wyoming Seminary), and Melissa Kuhns and Lindsay Metzger (Crestwood) – are both home this weekend.