Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:35PM - 367 Views

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The idea came from the soccer field.

That's where one of the great field hockey careers at Penn State actually began.

Because long before she became the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year who led her Penn State field hockey team to a conference title, Kelsey Amy was a kid willing to try something different.

I think it was in fourth or fifth grade, Amy remembers. I played on a soccer team with a group of girls. One of the girls had a sister who was in high school playing field hockey. We all started to pick it up.

Amy picked up another award Thursday to add to her spectacular senior season when she was one of five Nittany Lions named a Division I All-Region player by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

This year was incredible, Amy, a former Lake-Lehman standout, said. I had one of the best times of my life.

But it all began with a life-changing decision long ago.

Amy and a group of her old soccer friends banded together to join a grade school field hockey frenzy at summer camps, calling themselves the Pixie Stix and lining up at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome.

We were little, Amy said, and we had to play against the older girls because there were no teams in our age group. We started out doing a couple of camps. We played in a league at the Dome. Everybody would just laugh at us.

We would end up beating them.

No wonder.

Some of her teammates on youth field hockey team included: recent U.S. Olympian and current Virginia star Paige Selenski; North Carolina's Kelsey Kolojejchick; Duke's Devon Gagliardi; Stanford's Kelsey Lloyd; and Northwestern's Tara Puffenberger.

We all played together, Amy said. Now we're all rivals, but we're still good friends.

The daughter of Richard and Stephanie Amy of Sweet Valley found plenty more friends through the sport of field hockey, including the 22 other players she teamed with to win the Big Ten regular-season title while helping the Lions reach a No. 5 national ranking this season.

It's hard to say you expect (it), Amy said. You really don't know until you get to play with different people. I think it's pretty hard to find 23 girls who all get along so well. We weren't just friends on the field, we were all friends off the field, too.

As she heads back to Northeastern Pennsylvania today for Thanksgiving break, Amy said she has a whole career to be thankful for.

She scored 24 goals and made 12 assists for 60 points during her final season, earning the MVP of the Big Ten Tournament and All-America honors along the way.

She finished with 76 career goals, including 16 game-winners, and ranks third in Penn State history for career goals, 10th in the school's record book for single-season goals and eighth for total points in a season.

Amy said she'll always cherish her time playing for Lake-Lehman.

They prepared me for everything in college, Amy, 22, said. We always had fun in practices.

But the early stages of her field hockey career taught Amy there's payoff from perseverance.

Definitely a lot of hard work, Amy said. In the beginning, we were God-awful and hated it. We were saying we wanted to quit and we wanted to play soccer (instead).

Not only did Amy stick with field hockey, she thrived in the sport. And what she wouldn't give to pick up a stick and take a shot at the net one more time.

It's sad to see it come to an end, Amy said of her illustrious career.

It's too bad there's not a professional league for field hockey.

Locals make All-Region teams

Seven players with local ties joined Kelsey Amy as National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Region selections Thursday.

Kat Sharkey of Princeton earned first-team honors in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Sharkey is a senior from Wyoming Seminary. Brittany Blass, a sophomore from Crestwood, represents Lafayette on the Mideast Region's second team.

Kelsey Kolojejchick of North Carolina, Katie Nearhouse of Old Dominion and Paige Selenski of Virginia are on the South Region's first team, while Devon Gagliardi of Duke is on the second team. Kolojejchick is a senior from Wyoming Seminary and Nearhouse is a junior out of Nanticoke. Selenski is a senior from Dallas, while Gagliardi is a junior from Wyoming Seminary.

From the West Region, Northwestern junior Tara Puffenberger was a first-team choice. Puffenberger is a Dallas graduate.

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