Selenski shines against Wake in 4-0 home victory
Senior forward honors late mother’s memory by scoring two goals in blowout
Before facing No. 25 Wake Forest Saturday, the No. 5 Virginia field hockey team donned matching teal shirts with pink lettering to raise awareness for ovarian and breast cancer. The backs of the shirts read, “In memory of Judy Selenski,” for the late mother of redshirt senior forward Paige Selenski.
An emotionally charged Selenski scored her first of two goals less than three minutes into the contest and propelled the Cavaliers (14-3, 3-1 ACC) to a 4-0 win.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I’ve been here,” Selenski said. “We’ve never had a game for cancer awareness. It really means a lot to me, and I’m so thankful to have really great teammates and a great coaching staff to help me put it together.”
The Demon Deacons (8-9, 1-3 ACC) had not been shut out this year. The four-point scoring margin tied for the largest differential between ACC teams all season. With the win, Virginia preserved its undefeated record at home, moving to 9-0 at Turf Field.
“It wasn’t an easy game to play, for sure,” coach Michele Madison said. “Wake Forest played a lot of big balls to try and get down and around us. They showed great speed, but we held our composure and were able to shut down their interior attempts to score goals.”
After Selenski dribbled the ball into the circle and tapped in a slow roller to put Virginia up 1-0, sophomore forward Rachel Sumfest found the net twice. Her first goal came after an assist from Selenski. The sophomore’s two goals tied her career-best single-game performance, and the Cavaliers entered halftime with a three-goal lead.
“I was a bit worried about a let down after the half, just because we had such great control early in the game,” Madison said. “At half time we just refocused on what the game objectives were and we picked up the pace and tried to drive the tempo.”
During halftime, the Cavaliers announced former field hockey great Cindy Carzo was in attendance. Carzo holds the Cavalier single-season records with 76 points and 37 goals. The announcer mistakenly introduced Carzo as second in Virginia field hockey career points, but Selenski recently passed Carzo on the list, knocking Carzo down to third. After her five-point performance Saturday, Selenski sits just two points away from catching Meredith Thorpe for the all-time scoring title.
In the second half, the Cavaliers scored their fourth and final goal almost immediately when Selenski took command of the ball and dribbled past the entire Demon Deacon defense for an unassisted score.
“We’ve been working a lot all week on building our attack,” Selenski said. “I think we did really well with that today. We had moments where we weren’t as successful, but it’s come a long way in the last couple of games.”
Wake Forest found a few opportunities to get on the board, most notably on a penalty corner with seven minutes remaining. Instead of taking the normal shot at the top of the circle, the Demon Deacons passed the ball out left for an open look. Sophomore goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone, however, secured the shutout for Virginia with a critical save.
Though the Cavalier offense has been potent all season, the defense has recently peaked. Wake Forest was largely unable to muster any offense in the second half. Virginia held the Demon Deacons to just three shots during the period and has now shut out three of its last four opponents.
“We were very solid on defense,” junior back Elly Buckley said. “Jenny [Johnstone] played really well and we did a great job getting the ball out of the back.”
Johnstone earned her eleventh win of the season in goal with her five-save performance. She now allows a mere 1.41 goals per game and is close to breaking into the top 10 nationally.
Two games remain in the regular season for Virginia. The Cavaliers clinched a first-round bye in the ACC tournament after Maryland fell to North Carolina this weekend.