Terps' Wurzburger has scored in everything but national recognition

March 21, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff LTC

COLLEGE PARK -- There is a rap, if it can be called that, against Maryland attackman Rob Wurzburger that almost defies belief.

Terps coach Dick Edell has heard the rap, and it goes like this: All Rob Wurzburger can do is score goals.

That's all? That's not enough? Isn't that the idea, to score goals?

When Wurzburger was omitted from All-America mention after scoring a team-high 31 goals as a sophomore two years ago, Edell rated it as one of the major disappointments of his coaching career. Now a senior, Wurzburger still is waiting for that first call as an All-America, even honorable mention.

He has scored 105 goals, six of them in Maryland's 17-16 victory over Towson State last Saturday. That puts him No. 5 on the school's all-time list headed by Frank Urso, who pumped in 127 from 1973-76. Also ahead of Wurzburger are Dave Dempsey (107), Jim Wilkerson (117) and Pete Worstell (126).

The criticism against Wurzburger, however slight, is that he has so few assists. To go with his 93 goals in his first three seasons, he had only 10 assists. Edell willingly speaks to that.

"It's a bad rap because not a whole lot of players do what Rob does -- score goals," Edell said. "Even if he didn't do anything else, scoring 105 times is a feat in itself. He plays crease attack, and that's simply not an assists position.

"One of the key plays in the Towson State game was when Wurzburger won a ground ball after we broke a Towson clear attempt and fed Blake Wynot for a goal. He wasn't credited with an assist, because Wynot had taken too many steps, but it was still a big play."

In addition to that and his career-high six goals, Wurzburger had three official assists against Towson and was acclaimed Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week. His parents, who travel from Syracuse for Maryland's games, told Wurzburger it was his best outing since his high school days.

Although those three assists are his only ones this year, he is just one shy of his career-high of four last season.

"I'm rolling," Wurzburger said wryly.

Going into No. 5 Maryland's game at No. 18 C.W. Post Saturday, Wurzburger has 12 goals in three games, with six games plus the ACC tournament remaining. He and Edell both know the lacrosse fraternity has been paying attention.

"Teams will compensate, and that could jeopardize his pursuit of Urso's record," Edell said. "We're not making a conscious effort to help him set the record, and neither is he."

"It would be nice to get the chance," Wurzburger said, "but I'm not going to get caught up in it at the expense of the team's success."

Wurzburger wound up at Maryland in part because of a contact Edell made during his final year as Army's coach in 1983. Brian Willard, a graduate of West Genessee High, a New York lacrosse hotbed, was in West Point's prep school that spring, but didn't go on to the academy and instead followed Edell to Maryland.

That was Edell's entree to West Genessee High. Willard's two brothers, Phil and David, followed him to Maryland, as did Jeff McNeil and Wurzburger. Two other West Genesee products, Todd Curry and John Zulberti, went on to become first-team All-Americas at Syracuse.

Wurzburger's brother, John, was playing at Cornell, but Rob didn't think it was wise to follow because both were crease attackmen. As a freshman, Rob would have been competing for a starting job with his brother, then a senior.

"I also thought Cornell might be a step above me in academics," said Wurzburger, who has a 3.1 grade-point average in government and politics. "I liked what I saw of Maryland during my visit. When I went home, my mother knew I wanted to come here by the way I acted."

Wurzburger will not be tempted to slash his wrists if he leaves College Park without an All-America citation.

"It's just a title, so you have to keep it in perspective," he said. "I'd rather people say, 'He should be an All-America' than 'I can't believe he made it.' "

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