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Mt. Rushmore Series: Virginia Field Hockey

The Vittese Sisters have run UVa FH for a decade, but which one makes the mountain?

Alex Cheung | Streaking the Lawn

The University of Virginia has produced some amazing athletic programs over the years. The Men’s and Women’s soccer program are both blue bloods. Both lacrosse teams are among the top ten in the country. The men’s basketball and baseball teams have both won national titles in the last decade.

The team most overlooked with the most storied past is by far the UVa field hockey team. Though the program only started in 1973, it has made the postseason in 28 of those 46 seasons including six appearances in the semifinals of those postseasons.

Here is who made our Mt. Rushmore for the field hockey program:

Michele Madison - Head Coach - 2006-Present

Madison is one of the winnings coaches in NCAA field hockey history having amassed more than 400 career wins during her time at Temple, Michigan State, and UVa. At UVa she is the holder of the all time wins mark with 201 victories over 14 seasons and a .665 winnings percentage. She has lead the program to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances over that span including three appearances in the NCAA Tournament semifinals (‘19, ‘10, and ‘09). During that time she has also won the ACC Coach of the Year Award in 2017 and lead the team to its only ACC Tournament title in 2016. She’s produced 25 All-American seasons and has a streak of 14 straight seasons with at least one All-American on the team.

Meredith Thorpe (1995-1998)

One of the most prolific goal scorers in program history, Thorpe still owns the career goals mark with 101 goals in her four seasons. She is also 2nd in points with 230 and holds the record for most hat tricks in a career with 12!. The 1995 ACC Freshman of the Year, Thorpe would go on to be named an All-American in all four years of college. She was a three time First Team All-American (‘95-’97) before being named a Second Team All-American in 1998. After her career at UVa she also appeared on the US National Team.

Tara Vittese (2014-2017)

Though three Vittese sisters have come through the UVa program and been amazing in Charlottesville, Tara left her mark on the program best. During her time with UVa she was a three time NFHCA National Player of the Year (‘15-’17), two time ACC Player of the Year (‘16-’17), and was the 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year. Not to mention, she is the only player in program history to be a four time First Team All-American. Couple that with a four time First Team All-ACC. As it stands she is 5th in career goals (72), 3rd in career points (195), and 3rd in career assists (51). After her time in Charlottesville she has appeared with the US Women’s National team in 14 international games including the 2018 World Cup.

Paige Selenski (2008-2010 & 2012)

Though the Vittese sisters have certainly made their mark, Selenski has a strong case to be made as the most decorated player in program history. A four time All-American (2nd Team in 08, 1st in ‘09, ‘10, and ‘12), she was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2008 and was a four time member of the All-ACC team. She is second in career goals (100), first in career points (238), and fifth in career assists (38). She scored 27 goals in each of the 2009, 2010, and 2012 seasons which are still tied for 3rd most in a season by a Cavalier. In 2009 and again in 2010 she was a finalist for the Honda Award which is given out to the best collegiate female athlete in each sport. After UVa, she has played for the US Women’s National Team 142 times including the 2012 London Olympics and was an alternate with the Olympic team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Also considered: Michelle Vittese, Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn, Elly Buckley, and Michelle Vizzuso