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By Cat Snider, UVa Media Relations

When the season began Saturday, Feb. 20, Brittany Kalkstein needed just six draw controls to break Virginia’s all-time program record in the category. When the final whistle of the season opener blew, Kalkstein had snagged a personal-best nine draw controls to move her career mark to 199, surpassing Lauren Aumiller’s total of 195 from 2000-03.

In Virginia’s second contest, Kalkstein won six more draws to tie the ACC’s all-time career mark held by Maryland’s Dana Dobbie, who collected 205 in 2007-08.

Entering the Cavaliers’ contest against No. 6 Syracuse over the weekend, Kalkstein needed just one to gain sole possession of the conference’s career record. Sixty minutes later, Kalkstein matched a career-high with nine draw controls and anchored the Cavaliers to an upset victory over the visiting Orange.

Though draw controls have always been a favorite part of the game for the senior All-American, she credits her coaches for having the confidence in her to take the draws during her first year. From there, she has relied on her fundamentals and stick skills to be able to close the deal.

“It’s one of those things, the draw is a 50-50 ball, so it brings my competitive nature out,” Kalkstein said. “If you win it, you get possession, so I think it’s one of the most important aspects of the game. If you can’t win the draw, you’re not going to have the ball.”

To Kalkstein, however, breaking these records are all just facts of life.

“It’s a cool feeling [to hold the school record], but I like to look at the bigger picture,” Kalkstein said. “It’s not the most important thing for me. If I can help the team by winning draws, that’s what I try to do.”

Behind the nation’s leader in draw controls, the Cavaliers have started the season 2-1 and after back-to-back wins, seem to be poised to take on two top-15 nationally ranked teams this weekend – No. 2 Maryland and No. 13 Penn State.

When talking about the way the team has been working this year, Kalkstein displays a special excitement about how cohesion is better than ever and how something is starting to click into place.

“This year’s team has a different sort of dynamic on the field,” Kalkstein said. “It’s attitude. Everyone wants to be here, everyone wants to push each other hard, and I think that is really going to show when it comes down to the stretch and we’re in tough spots. We have a positive, aggressive attitude in practice. Even off the field our connection is pretty sturdy. It’s a good feeling.”

With three games already under their belt, this attitude is going to serve the Cavaliers well.

“I’m so glad the season has started,” Kalkstein said. “When we start preparing for teams, it is one of the best parts of lacrosse. Having practices when you’re focusing on other teams, it helps us get better. I love preparing for our opponents, especially knowing that competition is coming up.”

With competition here and only one final season left, Kalkstein says she has a few things she keeps in mind to ensure she has a great year.

“I would like to play every game and not have to look back and regret the way I played,” Kalkstein said. “I would like to know that I gave it my all.”

As for a team goal, “to obviously to win it all would be great!”

Though that is a highly attainable goal for the Cavaliers, the squad has a grueling regular season schedule, with high expectations in the ACC, to make it through before they can set their sights on the postseason. As the Cavaliers head into the next few months, they are going to have to be at the top of their game, every time.

“The biggest challenge will be just trying to stay focused throughout the season,” Kalkstein said. “We can’t get lost when things start to get hectic and games start flying through. We need to stay focused, keep composed and remain calm under pressure.”

When it comes down to it, there is no doubt that Kalkstein is just the player to lead the team this season. With one school and one conference record already broken, there is no limit as to what the rest of the season could hold.

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