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Sophomore Kim Kolarik is the women’s lacrosse team’s starting goalie this year. In the Cavaliers’ season opener at No. 12 Loyola, Kolarik recorded a career-high 11 saves while also scooping up a personal-best five ground balls. Kolarik will be tested again twice this week when Virginia heads to Richmond (Wed, 5 p.m.) and No. 8 Syracuse (Sun, 12:30 p.m.).

Question: What is it like to have people firing shots at you every day?
Kolarik: Having so many shots each practice is very intense. You have to be ready to react to every shot and you don’t have time to second-guess your movements or your opponents. I love the feeling of making the save you’re not expected to make.

Question: How different is a game as compared to practice, for a goalie?
Kolarik: Practice is more of a learning process. I may face the same shot over and over to track the ball better and move to the ball quicker. Games are an application of everything I have worked on. I only get one chance to stop the ball in the game.

Question: How do you keep yourself loose and warm during a game where the attack has the ball more times than not?
Kolarik: When the ball is at the other end of the field, I will walk up to the 12-meter arc or even the 30-yard line just to keep moving, jump around or even stretch. And on every goal, I run to my defense and sometimes event the middies and attack to congratulate them.

Question: Do you ever have the desire to score a goal?
Kolarik: Yes! It is so unfair that goalies in men’s lacrosse are allowed to score, but goalies in women’s lacrosse cannot. I would love to play attack for one day just to see what it is like to score on a goalie.

Question: How did you become a goalie?
Kolarik: In sixth grade, everyone took turns playing goalie, because no one really wanted to have people throwing hard lacrosse balls at them. When it was my turn, I actually enjoyed playing the position and played really well. My coach, Carol Mattingly, spent extra time with me everyday to make me better. My mom was not thrilled at the idea, but here I am, still giving her heart attacks every time I get hit in the leg or arm.

Question: Besides keeping balls out of the net, what are some of the responsibilities a goalie has?
Kolarik: As a goalie, another main responsibility is to talk a lot, such as directing the defense which way to force their girl, when to slide, calling where the ball is, etc. I am also very active outside of the cage, so I try to get as many ground balls and interceptions I can to start fast transitions off the clears.

Question: In last Saturday’s contest, the wind was blowing so hard at times that it even blew the goal around. How did the wind affect your game?
Kolarik: I tried not to think about the wind. The only time I was conscious of the wind was on clears to make sure I didn’t under or over throw them.

Question: What is the hardest thing about being a goalie?
Kolarik: The goalie position is a very mental position. The two things I’ve learned in college are to not think about what I am doing in goal and to face every shot as its own. Over thinking can ruin your focus.

Question: Do you have a least favorite attacker to face every day?
Kolarik: Ainsley Baker. She goes to goal with so much strength and determination. Plus, she always manages to nail me in the left leg with her shot.

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