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Facing off with Gavin Gill

Third-year attack Gavin Gill played a big role in the Cavaliers’ come-from-behind 11-7 victory over Drexel last Sunday. He scored his first goal of the season at the 12-minute mark of the third quarter by rifling a shot past goalie Bruce Bickford to put the Cavaliers ahead 7-6. His goal, on extra man, was the third of four straight EMO goals the Cavaliers scored to rally and take the lead. It was his only shot of the game. Playing through injuries last season, Gill scored six goals and had four assists.

Q: What are your thoughts about the team this season?
Gill: Just like every year, it’s a unique team with a lot of young talent. Even with guys like Rubes (Ben Rubeor) nicked up, we still have a chance of winning the (national) championship, which is our ultimate goal. We need to fight harder in every drill that we do and every play that we have.

Q: After preseason practice and the first game against Drexel, do you think the team is starting to get in stride a little bit?

Gill: Yes. It took us a little while to get under way with Ben (Rubeor) going down, but I think last week was our best week of practice all year. Then we had a good hard fought win against Drexel, which sets a good tone for us right now.

Q: Your early-season role is playing on the man-up unit. What are your responsibilities with that group?
Gill: The key with us on extra man is to move the ball. Garrett (Billings) is really good at seeing the field from up top and that center spot. As long as we move the ball quick, everyone’s going to get opportunities whether it’s Brian (Carroll), Danny (Glading), Peter (Lamade), Tim (Fuchs), Garrett or me. Everyone’s going to have opportunities and we just need to take advantage of it.

Q: One of the things that coach Starsia and several teammates have commented on coming into this season is that your shot is a lot harder than before. Is that something you have worked on to get ready for this season?
Gill: I strained my quad in the fall and usually I play X,’ but this year I have been playing more in that right wing spot. So I didn’t really have a choice but work on that shot and over the course of practice it got a lot better.

Q: Your extra-man goal last Sunday against Drexel proved to be the game winner. Talk about the feeling that you get from scoring a goal in a game, particularly in an important win like that.
Gill: I wasn’t really thinking about it as game winning, but we moved the ball well in that play. Garrett (Billings) had a great look and passed the ball to me and I had the opportunity (to shoot) and buried it. I celebrated a little bit after scoring, trying to get the momentum going our way and keeping things going our way.

Q: As a reserve on attack playing behind three All-Americans, how do you mentally keep yourself in the game since you don’t necessarily know when you are going into the game?
Gill: That’s something that’s actually been kind of a struggle for me throughout my career. Last week, and maybe at the end of last year, were the first times that I really keyed in on just focusing on what I have to do during the game and thinking about my part instead of being more of a guy just watching on the sidelines and cheering. I focus and I visualize a lot before the games and during the games at all times.

Q: You battle against tough defensemen such as Ken Clausen, Matt Kelly and Tim Shaw every day at practice. How has that helped you improve your game?
Gill: That always helps. Starting with my first year, I think I went against (Defenseman of the Year) Mike Culver more than anyone else. That was a great experience and now we’ve got Ken, Matt, Tim, and Ryan (Nizolek). Danny (Glading), Garrett (Billings) and I talk about itthere is no one easy to get by on this team and everyday in practice it helps to go against the best in the game.

Q: Saturday’s game against Stony Brook is the first home game this season. Please talk about the excitement of being able to play at Klckner Stadium.
Gill: We were actually talking about it the other day. We were really excited for our opener against Drexel but to be back in Charlottesville, sunny weather, home crowd, all of our parents will be in town for the weekend, it’s just going to be an exciting atmosphere and I think we all are ready to play.

Q: Tell us about the effect that Peter Lamade has had on the team so far.
Gill: Peter’s fit into the roleI almost want to sayperfectly. The way that he has done thingshe kind of took the back seat a little bit in the beginning and didn’t want to step on peoples’ toes. But now as the season progresses he’s taken more of a leadership role which everyone loves. Peter’s a great player, but more than anything he brings experience and hard work to the team.

Q: You have two older brothers, Conor and Brendan, who also played at UVa. What kind of influence did they have on you getting involved in lacrosse and deciding to come to UVa?
Gill: Conor and Brendan are my two best friends in the world. I don’t know if I consciously thought about it when I decided to come here, but in the back of my mind I always wanted to do the same things that they do. I look up to them more than anyone as role models.

Q: Speaking about doing the same things that they do, all three of you have won national championships here at UVa. You have this year and next year to perhaps win a second and/or third championship. If that were to happen would you puff out your the chest to those guys?
Gill: (chuckles) No, they would be just as happy for me as I would be for myself. I don’t think there would be any puffing out my chest so to say, but it would be special to get at least one more. It would be great.

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