Boys Lacrosse: Century's Yanchoris an 'anchor' for Knights' defense

Chris Yanchoris is comfortable in the goalie crease and he considers it “his little home.”

The Century senior started playing lacrosse when he was 7 years old and split time between playing midfield and goalie until he was in sixth grade. He doesn’t like running that much, he admitted, and taking the role of netminder seemed to be a suitable fit.

Yanchoris led the county in save percentage as a sophomore and junior, earning Times first team all-county honors each of those seasons. He notched a county-best 223 saves and allowed 107 when he was a sophomore and yielded just 98 as a junior.

He was first exposed to the position as a third-grader and it just came naturally to him, he said.

“Over the years, I got more training and I was like ‘I love this,’” Yanchoris said. “I love having the pressure on my back so I can make a difference for my team.”

Yanchoris made 11 saves in goal for the Knights in a thrilling 12-11 overtime victory at Gerstell on Thursday. A brawl ensued between the teams late in the third quarter that resulted in two player ejections from both teams, but Yanchoris was adamant to bring the Knights back together so the game could continue.

In doing so, the Knights were able to prevail. Junior midfielder Brett Kropinski scored with one-tenth of a second on the clock to send the game to overtime. Less than five minutes later, he scored the game-winner.

“I have to let our team know that we can’t have those stupid fouls, two people being ejected, that’s unacceptable,” Yanchoris said. “I try to keep cool, try to keep everyone composed and if we keep composed we should come out on top.”

Jeremy Benson, the Knights’ coach, said Yanchoris’s confidence carries over to the team’s defense. The defense faces slip ups every so often, but Benson said Yanchoris is easy to rely on to make a crucial save when it’s most necessary.

“It’s been great because if you don’t have a goalie, it’s a tough thing to coach and I’m not a goalie coach, so there’s only so much you can improve on,” Benson said. “It’s Chris’s third year starting as a goalie and he’s been an anchor since his sophomore year. He was first team all-county as a sophomore, undoubtedly a high-level goalie in a competitive county and he’s that leader who keeps everyone calm.”

Yanchoris’s lacrosse career won’t end at the high school level. He is committed to play at Siena College and plans to major in business. Siena’s campus felt like home to him when he visited and he’s already anticipating the competition at the next level.

He attributed much of what he has learned over the years to Crabs Lacrosse coach John Goodrich, a former club lacrosse player at Florida State.

When Benson accepted the Century coaching position three years ago, he had already heard about Yanchoris’s talent. It wasn’t until the two met that Benson realized how self-assured Yanchoris was.

“He was the talk of the town, a very high-level player” Benson said. “When I met him for the first time, he looked like he did now, a 6’3”, very confident high-level soccer and lacrosse player. He’s always had that confidence from the beginning and has always been a leader to the team, so I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Yanchoris helped lead the Knights to a Class 2A/1A West sectional semifinal last season where they fell to state finalist South Carroll 10-8. He’s got similar expectations for this year’s group as well, expectations for a much farther playoff run.

“I expect us to be county champs and definitely make it to the state championship,” Yanchoris said. “We have the talent to get there from offense to defense, we’re experienced. I expect us to lead in scoring and lead in turnovers; we definitely have the talent.”

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