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UNC field hockey coach Erin Matson says she isn't allowed to try out for 2024 Olympic team

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina field hockey coach Erin Matson — one of the sport's most accomplished players — says she won't be allowed to try out for the U.S. Olympic team during its trials this weekend.

The 24-year-old who led the Tar Heels to the national championship in her first season as head coach posted a social media statement Thursday about the decision.

“Although it leaves my heart heavy, I have moved forward,” Matson said.

The Philaelphia Inquirer first reported the ruling, saying USA Field Hockey had said Matson was not eligible based on a selection process established in June 2023.

Matson had returned to play for the U.S. Team at the Pan Am Cup last month in Canada.

The News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, reported Thursday that a USA Field Hockey spokeswoman had told the newspaper that the organization is open to further discussion. That included inviting her to a meeting in Charlotte, though Matson had said that discussion would be about potential involvement in international competitions in 2026 or 2028.

Matson is a four-time national champion as a player, three coming in unbeaten seasons. She closed her playing career in 2022 as a three-time national player of the year, and the career scoring leader in Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Tournament history.

Two members of UNC's Board of Trustees have issued statements in support of Matson's efforts.

“For reasons that are beyond comprehension, Erin has been denied the opportunity to try out for the US Olympic Team at the trials in Charlotte on April 7,” trustees chairman John Preyer said. “Why is US Field Hockey denying the greatest American player in history a chance to compete for a spot on the Olympic team?”

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports