- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 21, 2006

Maryland midfielder Bill McGlone makes moves during lacrosse games that leave teammates shaking their heads in amazement. Away from the field, he has a similar effect — though for far different reasons.

The athletic senior could be in line for a spot on the All-America first team for the second straight year. He has surpassed 100 points in his career and has anchored the Terrapins’ midfield for three years.

That type of player often possesses a thorough — and some might argue obsessive — awareness of equipment and other facets of the game. McGlone, who has been known to carry four sticks around for teammates to prepare for game use, is not one of them.

“You’ll never find a player who is so talented that knows so little about sticks,” senior midfielder Ryan Lang said. “I don’t even think he can put his own shooting strings in.”

Once someone else takes care of that, McGlone is one of the country’s most effective midfielders. He’s in the midst of a steady season, entering today’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal at Towson against Princeton (11-4) with 22 goals and 11 assists for the second-seeded Terps (11-4).

McGlone’s quickness and explosive outside shot have helped Maryland pull within a game of its third semifinal berth in the last four years, and are reminders of why he was also a star in football and basketball at Ridley High School in the Philadelphia suburbs.

“I’ve always been an athlete first and a lacrosse player second,” McGlone said. “I never got into sticks or stuff like that. My theory was always it’s not the stick, it’s the man behind it. … I’ve never been a huge laxer, guys who look stuff up online and are into everything about it. I’ve just been into playing.”

That was evident early in his college career, when he would regularly attempt a flashy play rather than an effective one. Even as a third-line midfielder as a freshman, McGlone showed a propensity for trying to make a big play, even when it wasn’t there.

McGlone has increased his consistency in the last few years to match his talent. He has scored in every game this year after battling through an early-season hamstring injury, and he scored twice in last week’s first round defeat of Denver, including on a sweet behind-the-back shot from in front of the crease.

“His game had a lot of glitter but it didn’t have a lot of substance at first,” coach Dave Cottle said. “Now it’s got a lot more substance and it’s much more fundamentally sound. So when things go badly, he can rely on his fundamentals.”

If only everything could go so smoothly for McGlone, who is constant fodder for teasing from teammates for malapropisms. He has dubbed junior Ryan Clarke and sophomore Ryne Adolph “The Paparazzi” for hanging on his every word.

“I’ll say something very minuscule or maybe ask a question about something, and 20 minutes later everybody knows about it,” McGlone said. “It’s like ‘Oh, did you hear what Bill said?’”

He has said plenty that teammates still regularly bring up. They have amassed a detailed collection of McGlone stories, including the use of mangled phrases such as “on the other foot” and “comradership” (the latter was an accidental mispronunciation, McGlone says). Then there was the instance last winter when McGlone said water freezes at 36 degrees (he insists he didn’t argue the point after being corrected).

Other stories stem from McGlone’s tendency to forget to bring his jersey or gloves to a game or his perpetual struggles in sports trivia games. (“He always thinks he knows the right answer to something but he’s nowhere close,” Adolph said.)

Adolph especially relishes the time he told McGlone about how his dad was meeting Lynn Swann, who is running for governor of Pennsylvania. McGlone, typically, did not know much about the football Hall of Famer.

“Bill’s like ‘Oh yeah, Lynn Swann, baseball player right?’ ” Adolph said. “I said ‘No, football.’ ‘He played for the Redskins, right?’ ‘No, the Steelers.’ ‘Oh, yeah, that’s right, that’s right.’”

Few lacrosse fans will soon forget McGlone played at Maryland, even if he hasn’t produced a dominant game this season. Cottle’s decision last month to open the offense up top already has boosted midfielder Brendan Healy’s production, and McGlone has received some more looks as well.

It could also lead to the monster game McGlone has sought since his last hat trick, a five-goal effort against UMBC early last season. If it comes today, it could ensure McGlone finishes his career in front of his family and friends in Philadelphia — where someone else, no doubt, will string his stick.

“Even with problems he has with sticks, before the game and during the game he’s always prepared,” Clarke said. “There’s never a time when it’s a close game where I wouldn’t like to see him have the ball.”

Added McGlone: “You figure one of these times your shots are bound to just go in. I’m hoping I can get one of those days again. There’s no better time than now.”

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