Men's Lacrosse Opens Season This Saturday
Feb. 20, 2003
Charlottesville, Va. – The Virginia men’s lacrosse team opens its 2003 season this Saturday at home against Drexel at the U-Hall Turf Field at 1 pm.
The Cavaliers are ranked fourth in the Face Off Yearbook preseason poll and are coming off an 11-4 campaign that saw them advance to the national semifinals before falling to eventual national champion Syracuse 12-11 in double overtime.
The 2003 edition of head coach Dom Starsia’s club features eight returning starters, including six preseason All-Americans, and 26 lettermen from a squad that posted an 11-4 record last year and made its third final four appearance in four years.
Virginia should be potent once again offensively as five of last season’s top-six scorers return. Attackmen Joe Yevoli and John Christmas will look to build on tremendous freshmen seasons. Yevoli set a UVa rookie record with an ACC-leading 40 goals, while Christmas was named National Rookie of the Year after scoring 29 goals and adding 15 assists. Freshman Matt Ward, a two-time Washington Post Metro Player of the Year, joins the duo of experienced sophs on attack.
The top midfield line of seniors A.J. Shannon, Chris Rotelli and Billy Glading return to give Starsia one of the most versatile midfield units in the country. The trio is UVa’s fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-leading scorers from last season. Shannon tallied a career-high 25 goals in his first season in the midfield, while Rotelli was the lone Cavalier named first-team All-American. He scored 24 goals and expanded his game on both ends of the field. Glading is one of the most complete middies playing today and an opportunistic scorer who found the back of the net 15 times last season.
Three upperclassmen anchor the defense-seniors Ned Bowen and David Burman, and junior Brett Hughes. Bowen, one of this year’s captains, was voted the Most Improved Player last season. The athletic Burman has filled a variety of roles throughout his career both on close defense and in the midfield. Hughes, one of the nation’s leading d-men, is expected to fill the role of primary stopper again this season.
Junior Tillman Johnson is back in goal again this season. One of the top goalies in the country, he has played some of this best lacrosse throughout the preseason according to the coaching staff.
Senior long stick middie Trey Whitty will be a force in the midfield again this season. Last year he scooped up 77 ground balls and displayed a penchant for making big plays. Sophomore Jack deVilliers returns as the primary faceoff man for the second year in a row. He finished strong last season, winning more than 50 percent of his draws in two of the last three games.
Drexel posted a 9-5 record last season, its first winning season since 1998. Head coach Chris Bates’ club finished strongly, winning five of its last six games.
This is the second year in a row the Cavaliers have opened at home with the Dragons. Last season Virginia won 20-5.
“We’ve had one of our best preseasons this year,” said Starsia. “The weather hasn’t cooperated, but we’ve only lost one day and the players have worked hard and are anxious to get started.”
Gates for all UVa home games open one hour prior to game time. Tickets are $5 and $3 for youth 18-and-under, seniors 60-and-over and UVa faculty and staff with ID.