Sunday, July 27, 2014

Leaving her mark

February 16. 2013 3:29PM

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LONDON -- Van Halen's "Jump" never sounded so good to Dallas High School graduate Paige Selenski.

Selenski scored her first Olympic goal in the game's seventh minute, but the United States lost 2-1 to Belgium on Friday, falling to 12th place in the Olympic standings.

The Van Halen song -- the No. 1 tune in America in 1984 is much older than Selenski -- was played throughout the stadium to celebrate Selenski's marker.

Selenski came in as a substitute less than five minutes into play, the first sub by either team.

She jumped into a well-conceived attack, propelled by pinpoint passing between American teammates. Katelyn Falgowski centered from the left wing to Katie Reinprecht, who sent a touch pass to Selenski blazing up the left wing into the circle.

Selenski drove past defender Louise Cavenaile and tried to cross the ball to Shannon Taylor at the far post. Belgium goalkeeper Aisling D'Hooghe got in the way of the play and defender Stephanie De Groof looked to clear the ball away.

The Shavertown native swatted at the ankle-high clearing attempt and roofed into the top corner of the far side of the goal to give the Americans the lead.

The United States finished last among the 12 teams at the tournament, its worst showing in history. The Americans went 1-5, with their lone victory coming against Argentina, which is playing for the gold medal later today.

"We have finished where we deserved to," Rachel Dawson said in a release from USA Field Hockey. "We just didn't take our chances in this tournament so 12th place is what we go home with. It's been a humbling experience for us all. Humility gives you the desire to work harder and teaches you the discipline to execute better games. We've done an OK job here, but we know we can be better."

The U.S. enjoyed a 15-10 shots advantage and earned five of the nine penalty corners called. But Belgium tied the game in the 20th minute and clinched 11th place with a tally on a corner in the 51st minute.

"It's been so close every game, but not gone our way. In our games against opponents ranked higher than us, we took it to them and kind of shocked the world," Katie O'Donnell said in the release.

"We have amazing kids coming up," Selinsgrove native Keli Smith-Puzo said in the release. "The young talent is going to be amazing. I think Rio 2016 is going to be a completely different team."

In her first Olympics, Selenski played 217 minutes and recorded eight shots. Her high was 47 minutes of play in the win over Argentina, followed by 41 against Belgium. She had three shots Friday, and posted at least one shot in every game except the matchup with New Zealand.

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