Sunday, June 6, 2010

FOV Cavalier of the Year, #1/#2

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight.

Over the next two weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; part of the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the
entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines. Last year's winner was Danny Hultzen; today's athletes are Brittany Kalkstein and Paige Selenski.

Brittany Kalkstein - Women's lacrosse - Midfield

Team accomplishments:

- 14-6 record
- Advanced to 2nd round of NCAA tournament as 6th seed

Personal accomplishments:

- 41 goals, 21 assists
- First-team IWCLA All-American
- Two-time ACC Player of the Week
- One-time Inside Lacrosse National Player of the Week
- Tewaaraton Trophy finalist
- Women's lacrosse Honda Sports Award finalist
- First-team All-ACC, First-team ACC Tournament team

Kalkstein fell just shy of being the team's leading scorer, but there's no doubting her status as the team's top player. The lady laxers had their best season since 2007, advancing to the second round of the tournament under extremely difficult circumstances.

Kalkstein scores - a lot. Her 41 goals stand out, and she was credited with more game-winning goals than anyone else on the team. There's little she doesn't do - she was tied for the team lead in ground balls and second on the team in caused turnovers. She's also started every single game during her four-year career, without missing a single one. But it's draw controls - the women's equivalent to faceoff wins - where Kalkstein makes her name. Last year she set the UVA single-season record with 73 - and then smashed that record like it was Disco Demolition Night with 97 in this, her senior season. It took only until the first game of this season for her to break the UVA career record here, and when she won her national POTW awards, they were also for her draw controls - nine of them in an upset win against Syracuse, more than twice her already sky-high career average. The men's team could take a lesson. In any case, rewriting the UVA record books and being a national finalist for every award out there is a surefire way to earn a COTY nomination.

Paige Selenski - Field hockey - Midfield

Team accomplishments:

- 20-4 record
- Most wins in UVA history
- #2 seed in NCAA tournament - highest seed ever
- Advanced to NCAA final four

Personal accomplishments:

- Field hockey Honda Sports Award finalist
- First-team NFHCA All-American
- NFHCA South Region Player of the Year
- Second straight selection to All-South Region team
- All-ACC selection; All-ACC Tournament team
- 27 goals in 24 games

Selenski is one of four repeat nominees for this award, and deservedly so as one of the elite field hockey players in the country. Her 27 goals place her sixth in the nation, and just one of two underclassmen in that top six. In a sport that runs second only to soccer in the race to be the lowest-scoring, it's a helluva number.

Perhaps most importantly as UVA had its most successful field hockey season ever, Selenski proved herself a big-gamer. She scored three goals in the NCAA tournament, including the OT game-winner in the quarterfinal against Michigan State; she also scored twice against Duke in the ACC tournament, the opening goal in an OT win over #4 Wake Forest, a goal and assist in a 2-0 win over #9 Boston College, and the Hoos' only goal in the regular-season loss to Maryland. One of the nation's best, and only a sophomore.

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