KINGSTON – The expectations are high for the United States Women’s National Field Hockey Team these days.
That was clear in the span between the nights of July 22 and 24 in Toronto.
On the first night, the United States secured a trip to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics by reaching the final of the Pan American Games along with previous Olympic-qualifier Argentina.
With a major goal out of the way, however, Team USA had one more big accomplishment ahead.
By knocking off the world’s third-ranked team, 2-1, the fifth-ranked United States successfully defended the Pan Am Games title.
“Our ultimate goal to qualify for the Olympics, which we did, and just being able to win the Pan Am Games and defend that title that we won in 2011 was a huge accomplishment,” Paige Selenski, a Dallas graduate and 2012 Olympian, said July 26 during a stop at Wyoming Seminary’s Klassner Field with other National Team members for the Red, White, Blue and You Clinic.
As a starting forward in the last six international games, including three consecutive games where she scored goals at the Pan Am Games, Selenski has a strong chance of making her second straight Olympic appearance when the final roster for the games is settled next year.
Selenski came away proud of many of the team’s accomplishments, including how well they maintained their level of play, through back-to-back 12-0 and 15-0 routs of overmatched opponents and in the aftermath of fulfilling a long-pursued goal.
“That’s what led to our success in the final match,” she said. “We didn’t really just sit back on qualifying for the Olympics.
“We really wanted to finish off the job.”
The Pan Am Games gold medals added to the aura around the national team players as they taught the game to 21 middle school and 65 high school players, then answered questions and signed autographs during their stop at Wyoming Seminary.
The personal scoring streak and the 27-goal, two-game team outburst provide a confidence boost, according to Selenski.
“It just gives you reassurance that what you’re doing is right, what you’re doing is working,” Selenski said. “You’re following the process, sticking to what you believe in.”