Aug. 30, 2012
Selenski and Vittese withdrew from the University in 2011-12 to focus on their bids to make the U.S. Olympic team, a decision that paid off for them. Both made the team and competed in London this summer.
"It was awesome," Selenski said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Without their two best players, the Cavaliers struggled in 2011. After advancing to the NCAA semifinals in 2009 and '10, Virginia finished 8-12 last year. Not since 2005 had the Wahoos failed to earn an invitation to the NCAA tournament.
"That was a really tough season, mentally and physically," junior Elly Buckley recalled. "We had so many tough games."
Selenski, a forward, and Vittese, a midfielder, received a warm greeting when they rejoined the team this month after returning from London.
"We're all such close friends," Buckley said. "They do so much on the field and off the field, so it's awesome."
Neither fifth-year senior took part in preseason practice, and Selenski and Vittese weren't cleared to play until Virginia's second game, a 3-2 loss at No. 9 Penn State. In eighth-ranked UVa's home opener, though, their impact was enormous.
Selenski had three goals and two assists Wednesday evening in a 6-1 rout of Richmond before a University Hall Turf Field crowd that included members of Virginia's football, wrestling, men's basketball and women's basketball teams.
"We're going to grow game by game," said Selenski, a three-time All-American. "The team's new, and Michelle and I have just been put back into this, and the girls aren't used to playing with us yet. So it's going to take a couple games to get back into the groove and really get the feeling of playing with each other again.
"But I think each game we're growing, and we're growing minute by minute as a team, and I think that's really good, and that will good for us going into our season."
Virginia coach Michele Madison said her other players have to get used to the speed at which Selenski and Vittese play.
"We want the team to catch up with them, not vice versa," Madison said with a smile.
"The potential's there," Madison said. "We have to work a lot harder. We have to concentrate more. You have to play for 70 minutes. Those are really the goals: to play your game plan for 70 minutes, compete for 70 minutes, work hard for each other for 70 minutes. That's what we're trying to build up to do, and it takes a lot of discipline and focus to do that."
Sumfest is among the second-year Cavaliers who, until this season, had not played with Selenski and Vittese. That group also includes midfielders Jess Orrett, Kelsey LeBlanc and Katie Robinson, back Maddie DeCerbo and goalie Jenny Johnstone.
"We know them off the field pretty well, just from coming back and visiting," Selenski said. "They're hard workers and they're good players. We have a lot of skill on this team, so we've just got to learn to put it together and just be able to click as a group."
The Cavaliers' leading scorer in 2011 was Buckley, an All-ACC selection at forward in each of her first two seasons. She's now at back, where Virginia's other starters include her classmate Chloe Pendlebury, who like Buckley is from Australia.
Buckley, Virginia's second-leading scorer in 2010, has been battling a knee injury, but with help from Pendlebury, she's adjusting to her new role. Against UR, Buckley had three assists, and Pendlebury had two.
"Any time you have a backfield player that can distribute the ball and find open players in big spaces, it's a threat," Madison said. "It helps spread the field out, because [opponents] have to defend that, and then you have more space to do your build-up."
The home opener was the first of three straight games at the Turf Field for the Cavaliers. Virginia hosts Towson at 3 p.m. Friday and No. 3 Old Dominion at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Cavalier Football Notebook: UNC WeekFootball10/21/16At 3 p.m. Saturday, UVA (2-4, 1-1) hosts Coastal Division rival North Carolina (5-2, 3-1) in an ACC football game at Scott Stadium.Lucas Playing Key Role in TurnaroundField Hockey10/20/16Carrera Lucas' play at goalkeeper has helped No.9 Virginia, which hosts No. 7 Louisville on Friday night, win seven of its past eight games.Media Day NotebookMen's Basketball10/18/16Virginia, which advanced to the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight in 2015-16, opens the season Nov. 11 against UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
No. 9 Virginia Hosts No. 7 Louisville on Friday
Field Hockey | 10/20/2016
The No. 9 Virginia field hockey team hosts No. 7 Louisville in the final regular-season ACC...
Jeff White: Lucas Playing Key Role in Turnaround
Field Hockey | 10/20/2016
Goalkeeper Carrera Lucas' play has helped No.9 Virginia, which hosts No. 7 Louisville on Friday...
No. 9 Virginia Downs Richmond, 4-1
Field Hockey | 10/18/2016
Tara Vittese scored two goals and also assisted on two goals by Riley Tata as the Cavaliers...
Lucas and Vittese Earn ACC Player of the Week Honors
Field Hockey | 10/18/2016
Carrera Lucas was named the ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Week while Tara Vittese shared the...
No. 10 Virginia Travels to Richmond on Tuesday
Field Hockey | 10/17/2016
The Virginia field hockey team will play at Richmond on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The game...
Hyams' Overtime Goal Leads UVA to a 1-0 Win Over Syracuse
Field Hockey | 10/15/2016
Lucy Hyams scored 4:30 into overtime as the Cavaliers downed No. 2 Syracuse, 1-0. Carrera Lucas...
No. 10 Virginia Hosts No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday
Field Hockey | 10/13/2016
The No. 10 Virginia field hockey team hosts No. 2 Syracuse in an ACC contest on Saturday, October...
No. 10 Virginia Defeats William & Mary, 3-2
Field Hockey | 10/11/2016
The No. 10 Virginia field hockey team came from behind to defeat William & Mary, 3-2, Tuesday...
- Online Stores