Kelsey Kolojejchick did all she could to will her country into the Field Hockey World Cup championship game.
The Wyoming Seminary grad scored both goals for the United States on Thursday as the Americans lost to Australia in a shootout after a 2-2 finish in regulation at The Hague in Netherlands.
The U.S. will face Argentina for the bronze on Saturday to close out the tournament while Australia faces host Netherlands for the championship.
Kolojejchick, a star for the Blue Knights in high school and North Carolina in college, was the only U.S. player to find the back of the net against the Aussies. She scored twice in regulation and also tallied in the shootout, which Australia won 3-1.
Twice Australia took the lead and twice Kolojejchick came through with the equalizer.
With the U.S. down 1-0 after halftime, Kolojejchick ripped away the ball from two Australian players and got her stick free between two more before putting a diving shot past goalie Rachael Lynch in the 48th minute.
Australia would grab the lead back just four minutes later and it looked like the Aussies would hold on for a 2-1 win as the clock ticked down to 2:30 remaining.
But it was Kolojejchick again coming through on a strong individual effort, cutting across the field before launching a high shot that deflected off an Australian player and into the net to keep the U.S. alive.
Lynch, however, was too much for the Americans in the shootout, stopping three of four attempts to secure the victory.
After both squads were stopped in the first round, Lynch denied Dallas alum Paige Selenski and the Australians converted to take the lead in the shootout.
Kolojejchick scored on her attempt in the third round, but so did the Aussies. The U.S. was denied again in the fourth round and Jodie Kenny beat goalie Jackie Kintzer to clinch the victory.
“We played a pretty good game today,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham told reporters in Netherlands. “Australia is a world class team, but we competed with them. We could have done with a few more penalty corners, but we must now move on.”
Once again, the U.S. national team has been prominently represented by the Wyoming Valley. Kolojejchick, Selenski and Wyoming Seminary’s Kat Sharkey are all on the roster for the tournament.
Kolojejchick is the top scorer for the U.S. in the tournament with five goals, a total that puts her third among all players in the world during the competition. Her four field goals are tied for first.
Sharkey has scored two goals in the tournament and Selenski has connected once.
Regardless of how the third-place match goes on Saturday, the U.S. team has already overachieved, having entered the competition ranked 10th in the world.
Australia is the No. 4 team in the world rankings while Saturday’s opponent, Argentina, is at No. 2.
“That game was probably all about us,” U.S. captain Lauren Crandall told reporters in Netherlands. “We are relentless, we get energized when we are pressing and moving the ball forwards. We were 2-1 down and we just kept going.
“Now we have to refocus as we have a really big game coming up.”