ODU's Kelsey Smither

ODU field hockey star Kelsey Smither from Suffolk will play for the U.S. in the Under-21 World Cup. (OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY)

Kelsey Smither, 20, of Suffolk, a rising junior at Old Dominion, recently was named to the United States Under-21 Junior World Cup team. She is on the team that will compete in Monchengladbach, Germany, from July 27-Aug. 4, in an event held every four years.

The selection process included four events: the Women’s National Championship, U-21 Women’s National Championship, Futures Elite Championship and National Futures Championship.

Thirty-four players were selected for the Junior National Championship, and 18 players -- plus three replacements -- were selected for the final squad.

The Americans booked their pass to Germany by placing third in the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. In round-robin play, they will face Korea on July 27, the Netherlands on July 28 and Ghana on July 30. The U.S. then will compete in a quarterfinal or in a placement round for the bottom eight finishers.

Smither, 5-foot-4, can play in the midfield or on defense. She played every game during the Monarchs' 15-6 season in 2012, which included a 7-0 Colonial Athletic Association record and a 6-1 NCAA first-round victory against Michigan. Half of ODU's losses came to North Carolina, including a 3-1 decision Nov. 11 in an NCAA quarterfinal in Chapel Hill.

Smither provided three defensive saves as a sophomore. Though she didn't score a goal, she had 11 assists -- tied for second in the CAA -- and took 13 shots, putting four on goal. Her team outscored opponents by an average of 3.38 to 1.95 per contest. She was an All-South Region and all-state second-team selection, and she was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic Squad.

In 2011, she was named the National Rookie of the Year by womensfieldhockey.com and was honored as the CAA Rookie of the Year, as well as gaining second-team All-South Region recognition. She tied for fourth in the CAA with 13 assists and added four goals on 22 shots.

Smither graduated as an honor student from Lakeland High, where her late father, Ed, was a head football coach. She was named the Southeastern District Player of the Year three times, sparked Lakeland to its first team Group AAA state crown and a 24-0 record and set a national high school record with 124 assists in four years.

Kelsey has followed in the footsteps of older sister Katelyn, a first-team All-CAA player for ODU from 2005-08.

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