St. Anne’s-Belfield’s Kate Elam (25) takes a shot during a game last season.

Kate Elam understands the importance of making a good first impression.

Last spring, she scored more than 40 goals in her first varsity season for the St. Anne’s-Belfield girls lacrosse team after transferring from Virginia Episcopal School.

The senior standout expects to make a similar impact at the next level. Elam recently committed to play Division I lacrosse at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Choosing Pitt was easy because it was the perfect fit and my dream school,” Elam said. “When they called me and offered me a sport, I called back as soon as I could because there was no doubt in mind that I would want to play there.”

Elam made the most of her first season for the Saints. She scored 42 goals and added 13 assists and ranked second on the team in scoring as she earned first-team all-conference honors.

Former STAB coach Mary Blake was impressed.

“She worked hard out of season and earned herself a starting position as an attacker on our team,” said Blake, who coached the Saints last season. “She has worked hard and is excited for the opportunity to play at Pitt. She started for me and was a positive and impactful player.”

Pittsburgh is set to launch a women’s lacrosse program next fall and Elam was intrigued by the prospect of joining a brand new program.

“When I heard that Pitt was starting a new program, I was automatically interested,” Elam said. “When I first went to Pittsburgh, I was captivated by the beauty and energy of the city. I also loved the idea of being a part of contributing to a new lacrosse program at a great school. I love that Pitt is in the ACC and will be super competitive.”

Elam had a long talk with Pittsburgh Coach Emily Boissonneault and her staff and formulated a plan for her right away. She said the coaches were impressed with her strong offensive abilities, including her shooting, as well as her physicality with the ball on her stick.

The STAB standout expects to redshirt her first year with the Panthers so she can train with the team and get acclimated to the college game. The Pitt coaches are intrigued by her versatility.

“My coaches said they could really see me at any position — defense, attack and midfield,” Elam said. “I’m happy to be a part of the program and participate in any way I can.”

Elam noted she received interest from a number of programs, including William & Mary and Wofford, but none matched up to the possibilities offered at Pitt.

“When I got the call from Pitt, there was no hesitation,” she said. “Playing at the next level is a dream come true for me. I have been wishing for this to happen since I was 13.”

In the classroom, Elam is still weighing her options.

“I think I would like something in the areas of sports, law or medicine,” she said. “I would want to be involved in sports as long as I can after college, but I’m just enjoying the ride.”

With her college decision made, Elam can now focus on her final year of high school lacrosse and helping lead the Saints to another big season.

“I feel so much relief now because I know where I will be next year,” Elam said. “However, I am still pushing myself with lifting and conditioning because I want to be as prepared as I can be for next year. My dad told me to ‘push the gas now that no one’s looking’ and I totally agree because I want to be the best player, while still getting acclimated to classes.”

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