New Goals for Virginia Lacrosse
March 21, 2002
Freshmen John Christmas and Joe Yevoli are two of the nation’s most talented young attackmen. Fortunately for Virginia, they are both Cavaliers. In UVa’s first five games, Yevoli has tallied 14 goals and two assists while Christmas has scored nine times and assisted on four goals. The duo’s start to their collegiate careers is somewhat of a dream come true. Christmas and Yevoli talked about the possibility of what they could accomplish together shortly after they first met.
“I came on my recruiting trip with Joe,” Christmas said. “We were here [in Charlottesville] for a couple days and we talked about what we could do for the program. He’s really easy to like. So it’s not too hard to create a good bond. We’re going to be here for four years with each other so it’s good that we both like each other.”
“Being on the recruiting trip helped a lot,” Yevoli said. “I had never played with him before the fall [of 2001] but we just started playing well together right away. That’s a really good thing to have especially since we’re going to be together for four years.”
Christmas and Yevoli have only one season to play with national Player of the Year candidate Conor Gill. Gill is the third member of Virginia’s starting attack unit and both freshmen credit the 1999 national championship game MVP with helping their transition to the college game.
“With the leadership of Conor [Gill] and the coaches and all the senior leadership it’s been really easy to come in and play exactly like we played in high school,” Yevoli said.
“The leadership of Conor Gill really helps,” Christmas said. “Coach Mark Van Arsdale really helps us with the offense. It’s not too difficult of an offense. And I think we each complement each other with the way we play.”
Christmas and Yevoli have combined to score 23 goals and their complementary styles make the tandem difficult to defend. Yevoli is a more fundamentally sound player, while Christmas displays athleticism rarely seen in the collegiate game.
“Joe’s a really good attackman,” Christmas remarked. “He’s been playing attack his whole life. He can go right and lefty perfectly. He catches almost anything you throw to him. He’s just a really good lacrosse player and he knows the game really well.”
“John can go one-on-one pretty much against anybody and that helps a lot,” Yevoli said. “That draws the double team and he can pass it off to Conor [Gill] and Conor can just feed anybody on the field. That just makes our attack group really complete.”
Christmas and Yevoli have helped fourth-ranked Virginia start the season 4-1 despite playing one of the nation’s most difficult schedules. The Cavaliers have already played each of last season’s Final Four participants. But their stiffest test to date comes Saturday when UVa hosts top-ranked Johns Hopkins.
“The first really tough game that we had was against Syracuse and everybody was nervous I would bet because it was our first game,” Yevoli said. “Now that we’ve got Princeton and Towson and Notre Dame under our belts it will probably make it a little bit easier to go in against Hopkins. We’ll have a little bit more confidence. We know what we can do now. I think we can play better and we all know that.”