Manley selected to play with USWNT in Pan Am Games

By on July 15, 2015

 

Warwick grad Alyssa Manley, a soon-to-be senior at Syracuse University, has been selected to play with the U.S. Women’s National field hockey team in the Pan American Games, which are currently being held in Toronto, Canada.

Warwick grad Alyssa Manley, a soon-to-be senior at Syracuse University, has been selected to play with the U.S. Women’s National field hockey team in the Pan American Games, which are currently being held in Toronto, Canada.

If all goes according to plan, the U.S. Women’s National field hockey team will be in Rio de Janeiro next year for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

If that’s the case, Lititz’s Alyssa Manley is hoping to be wearing the red, white and blue.

First things are first, however.

Manley and the U.S. Women came up just a little bit short of a qualifying berth in the recent World League Semi-finals, held in Valencia, Spain from June 10-21. Needing a top-three finish to punch their ticket to the Olympic, they placed fifth.

“The fact that we didn’t qualify was obviously disappointing, but … there’s a fire within the team of how badly we want to be able to qualify,” said Manley, who now has made six international caps, all coming in 2015. “So when we knew that we weren’t going to get it, (our mindset was) just to finish as strong as possible and that’s why getting fifth place was important for us. Now it’s moving on to the Pan-Am Games and really focusing on them and just playing our hardest there.”

The 2012 Warwick High School grad will also make the trip to Toronto, Canada to play in those Pan American Games, set for July 13-25. The U.S. &tstr; one of eight teams competing &tstr; is in Pool B with Chile, Cuba and Uruguay.

Although the roster wasn’t announced until they had returned home from Spain, Manley actually knew before then that she’d be going to Toronto.

“I’m just excited that they see the potential in me to keep playing and I keep getting more opportunities to show myself to the team and to keep playing,” Manley, a rising senior at Syracuse University, remarked.

Only the winner clinches a spot in the Olympics and Manley likes the U.S. Women’s chances.

“I think it’s just how much the coaching staff has helped this U.S. Women’s National Team grow and how hard the girls have worked to get to the spot that they are and just the drive that everyone has to work really hard,” Manley said. “I think that we’re capable of beating really anyone.”

The 5th-ranked Americans were certainly right in contention in the World League Semi-Finals, after advancing to the final eight with a 2-1-1 record in pool play, defeating Uruguay 2-0, South Africa 4-1, drawing against Germany 2-2 and suffering a 2-0 loss to Ireland. Gillian Pinder, a former teammate of Manley’s for the Orange, played for Ireland.

Manley played in three of the four games, and in fact, she nearly scored her first international goal against Germany, but it was disallowed.

“It was a pretty big honor. I was really excited that I was one of the 18 girls who were going to be able to play,” Manley said.

But the Americans, despite holding a 3-1 edge in first-half penalty corners, dropped a 3-0 loss to Argentina in the quarterfinals.

“It was unfortunate that we lost two games that could have helped push us further,” Manley said. “They were close. I think that we battled pretty strongly in both games. It’s just that we couldn’t capitalize on the most important end &tstr; scoring.”

In their final match, the U.S. Women defeated Ireland 6-1 on a pair of goals by Katie O’Donnell and Paige Selenski, and one each by Lauren Crandall and Penn Manor product Jill Witmer, giving the Americans a 3-2-1 record.

Manley, who just turned 21 years old at the end of May, was the youngest player on the U.S. Women’s team that traveled to Spain.

“Just the fact that I got selected, no matter what my age would have been, I’d have been really excited to get selected,” Manley said.

A midfielder for the Orange, Manley played a screen position &tstr; defensive midfield &tstr; at the World League Semifinals.

Manley is no stranger to playing overseas. She traveled to Holland with the U.S. Under-17 squad as a junior at Warwick, and then did so again this past March as a member of the U-21 Team.

“They were kinda like stepping stones to get where I am now,” Manley said. “There’s no step up from playing on the Women’s National Team and playing with the best in the U.S. and playing against the best field hockey players from other countries. The girls are amazing at what they do.”

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