Shooting from the Hip with Adam Ghitelman
Junior goalie Adam Ghitelman is coming off an impressive MVP showing in the ACC Tournament, helping the Cavaliers win UVa’s first ACC Championship since 2006. The Syosset, N.Y., native recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss the recent ACC Championship, his 60-yard goal that helped break the eight-game losing streak to Duke, as well as his overall experience at UVa – all heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense, Robert Morris.
Question: What a weekend, Virginia wins the ACC Championship and you are named the tournament’s MVP on your birthday. What has this experience been like?
Ghitelman: Going into the weekend I saw that the championship game was going to be on my birthday, and I had a feeling something special was going to happen. Unfortunately we lost last weekend to Duke and everyone was upset about it, but we came together, practiced really hard during the week, and played a great game against them on Friday. Then we came out on Sunday in the championship setting, and we were able to play well. I am really proud of all the guys and thrilled to be MVP. The things I am worried about are team trophies and winning the championship. The individual nod is nice, but the team winning is the only focus.
Question: You mentioned Duke, you pretty much capped that win with your 60-yard heave for your first career goal. Goalies don’t score normally – you have had a couple assists in your career – but take us through that moment.
Ghitelman: Whenever they pull the goalie like they did in the 10-man ride, they have man-to-man defense on everyone except me. That allowed me to have a shot at an open cage from about 60-yards away. Every day at practice I’ll take some shots from that range, but not really think much about it. I got the chance to do it, and it is pretty cool that it went in. It is the first goal I have had like that, and for it to come against Duke is really special.
Question: Let’s transition a bit to family, your younger brother Jacob is a first-year on the team. While he is redshirting this season after an injury in the fall slowed him down, what is it like to have him around and looking forward to your senior year, on the field with you?
Ghitelman: It has been great. I have been playing lacrosse with him for as long as I can remember. Having your brother around is always comforting and during the games it is nice to see his face. I know he is going to learn a lot from redshirting this year, and I think he has a lot of potential. I hope he has a big impact on this program by the time his career is done. I hope he learns some things from me, I am proud of him, and I am glad he’s here. He makes my experience that much better.
Question: Staying with the family theme, a lot of successful teams have a family-like chemistry about them. You and Jacob are just one set of four brothers on the team, what is the overall chemistry like?
Ghitelman: We all live within about a 100-yard radius of one another, so if you want to hang out with anyone on the team you are pretty much within walking distance of them. Having that opportunity to be so close has been phenomenal, and it keeps us together. Our team is one of the closest I have ever experienced, especially between my class and the seniors, and I think it has a lot to do with the proximity of living.
Question: You mentioned the senior class, Saturday is Senior Day at Klöckner Stadium. How geared up are you to help those guys with great memory of their last regular season game on their home turf?
Ghitelman: We want to get a win for those guys in their last games at Klöckner. It will be a sad – but exciting feeling because we all love each other so much. A final win for them would be phenomenal so that is the plan.
Question: One senior you have had by your side on defense your whole career is Ken Clausen who has started all 66 games of his career. What is it like to have a defender like Ken by your side?
Ghitelman: He is the best defenseman in the country hands down in my opinion. He is the glue of our defense. He is the guy everyone can look up to or call on to make a play when we need one. There are so many aspects of the game that he creates like groundballs and fast breaks. He is the best shutdown defender in the country and you just couldn’t ask for a better guy to play with. I am truly going to miss him, but I’ll have to get over it at some point. Every relationship ends eventually. I’m going to miss him. But I know I have a friend for life.
Question: Like the seniors, you have been in Charlottesville awhile – what are some of your favorite places to grab food?
Ghitelman: I stick to the basics. I love Mellow Mushroom. It is a great place to hang out and have great pizza. I was surprised because I’m used to New York style pizza, but the pizza down here has actually been pretty good. I like Bodo’s Bagels a lot too – A Charlottesville staple.
Question: What is the topping of choice on those pizzas – and those bagels at Bodo’s?
Ghitelman: I am a pepperoni pizza guy for sure. I also like spicy chicken and peppers on my pizza. At Bodo’s I’m getting either an Everything Bagel with cream cheese or a bacon, egg, and cheese. There is nothing like a bacon, egg, and cheese. I love Charlottesville and everything about it.
Question: Besides eating, playing lacrosse and going to class – what is Adam Ghitelman doing in his spare time?
Ghitelman: There is a lot of sports video game playing on the Xbox 360 at the apartment, and watching TV or movies. Mostly we like to hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
Question: To close, when you guys are all hanging out, who makes you laugh the most?
Ghitelman: Everyone on the team is so funny. I would have to say my roommate Colin [Briggs]. He is the class clown but not in a bad way. He is a witty, smart guy, and it is good to be around him all the time.