Paige Selenski celebrates birthday in big way

July 6, 2013

The United States women’s field hockey team is trying to prove it is better than it showed in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Dallas High School graduate Paige Selenski is part of that process while trying to show she can be a better player at 23 than she was as a 22-year-old Olympian and college All-American.

“You can always improve in multiple areas,” Selenski said in a telephone interview last month after being named to the latest Women’s National Team.

Selenski showed an increase in scoring prowess on the international level while celebrating her 23rd birthday in England on June 30 with a hat trick during a 6-0 win over Italy in the World League Semifinals.

“Defensively, I can improve and I need to improve in the scoring circle on the international level,” Selenski said prior to the tournament. “You don’t get a lot of time to shoot when you’re playing against the best players in the world.

“You really have to keep working on your skills every day. For me, that’s really in the attacking 25.”

No one attacked better than Selenski for the United States when it finished strong following a rough start in the World League Semifinals where it was hoping to lock up a guaranteed spot in next year’s World Cup.

Selenski finished with five goals in the six-game tournament.

The United States lost its first four games and the hopes of clinching the World Cup berth early. After losing any hope of finishing in the top four, the team came back to win its final two games and improve its hopes of still earning a spot in the World Cup in The Netherlands.

Selenski scored the first goal in a 3-1 win over Spain on June 29. She forced a penalty corner 25 minutes into the game then scored on that corner.

The win meant the United States would end the event with a game against Italy to determine fifth and sixth place out of eight teams in the field.

Italy had defeated the United States, 2-1, during the pool play portion of the tournament.

Selenski, the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year while at the University of Virginia, helped make sure the rematch had a different result.

The United States was up, 2-0, when the Shavertown resident scored three goals in a 10-minute span of the second half to break the game open.

“There is a real solid work ethic and a hunger to learn,” Team USA coach Craig Parnham said of the team’s performance, according to a story on the USA Field Hockey website. “We are excited about the future of this group.”

The United States can qualify for one of the remaining World Cup spots based on world rankings and finish in the World League Semifinals. Continental champions also qualify.

The team has returned to the United States to prepare for its continental championship, the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina in late September.