MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - Three field hockey players with ties to Virginia have been named to the Team USA Olympic squad that will compete in London.
James River High graduate and former Syracuse University star Shannon Taylor will be representing the Red, White & Blue in London this summer as she was named to the USA Field Hockey Olympic Team by Head Coach Lee Bodimeade on Monday. Also, former UVA field hockey players Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) and Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) were named to the team.
Taylor, who has been a member of the U.S. National Team since 2010, will become the first Syracuse field hockey alumna to be an Olympian. She is one of 16 players from the 25-member U.S. National Team selected by Bodimeade and his staff for the Olympic Games.
Taylor will make her Olympic debut after being the USA's leading scorer last year and helped the team punch its ticket for London by scoring a goal in its 4-2 victory against Argentina in the finals of the Pan American Games on Oct. 28.
Selenski and Vittese, both All-Americans at Virginia, become the first members of the program to represent UVa in the Olympics.
Both Selenski and Vittese were members of the United States' first gold medal team at the 2011 Pan American Games held in October in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Americans upset then-world No. 1 Argentina 4-2 in the championship match to automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. Both Cavaliers contributed with a goal apiece in the gold medal game.
Selenski is a three-time All-American, including being twice named to the first team, in her first three seasons with the Cavaliers. Entering her final season of eligibility, she ranks third in both career points (171) and goals (73) in program history. She is also a three-time first team all-region and three-time all-conference selection. Selenski was selected as the 2008 National Freshman of the Year and the ACC Freshman of the Year.
Vittese is a two-time All-American, including a first-team selection as a junior in 2010. She has 16 career goals and 19 career assists for 51 points in a Virginia uniform. She is also a three-time all-region honoree and has twice been named an all-conference performer. Vittese was named the U.S. Player of the Year by USA Field Hockey last week.
The United States has been drawn into a challenging pool made up of No. 2 Argentina, No. 3 Germany, No. 6 New Zealand, No. 7 Australia and No. 12 South Africa. The Americans will open Pool B play at the Olympic Games against Germany on Sunday, July 29. From there, the U.S. will advance to their next opponents in the tournament - Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and then close the preliminary rounds with South Africa on Monday, August 6. The women's first semifinal will take place on Wednesday, August 8, and the gold-medal round commences on Friday, August 10.
Team USA will begin its final preparation for the London Games at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 18, with the start of a four-game test series against Argentina at UVa's University Hall Turf Field. Admission and parking is free to the public.
The team will depart for London on July 21.