The first time Nick Shevillo saw Tom Marechek play lacrosse, the Syracuse attackman did wondrous things with the stick.
"Things I had never seen," Shevillo said. "I thought he had thrown the ball three times, but they were just fakes. He still had it."
Shevillo, a Johns Hopkins senior defenseman, has played against Marechek three times, but never in the role he will fill today. When the No. 3 Blue Jays take on No. 1 Syracuse at 2 p.m. at Homewood, Shevillo will have the assignment of trying to contain Marechek one-on-one.
"Nick plays well against a guy off the ball," coach Tony Seaman said. "He concentrates -- won't take his eyes off him -- even when Marechek doesn't have the ball. Marechek is so dangerous when other guys have the ball -- then, bang, they get it to him."
Marechek, a senior from Canada, leads Syracuse with eight goals in two games, leaving him third on the school's all-time list with 143 behind Tom Korrie (155) and Gary Gait (192).
He poured in 53 goals last year and was acclaimed a first-team All-America for the second time. In each of Syracuse's last 14 games, Marechek has scored at least three goals.
When Hopkins ended Syracuse's 26-game home winning streak last year, Marechek scored five goals. When the Blue Jays lost to Syracuse in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, he had four.
"Marechek likes to play against me because he scores a lot of goals," Hopkins goalie Scott Giardina said dryly. "The first time he faked, I thought it was a shot. Four fakes later, the ball went over my right shoulder.
"He fakes like no one else. You can't read his body language or his eyes. With some players, you can because they have tendencies. His only tendency is to put the ball in the net."
After watching Marechek from the sideline during his first two years and playing against him last year, Giardina has come to a conclusion.
"I've learned you have to be patient," Giardina said. "The first time he came at me one-on-one, he faked so much I almost fell down by the time the ball went in the goal."
Like Gary and Paul Gait before him, Marechek became deft with a stick by playing indoor lacrosse as a youngster in Canada. And, like the Gaits, he is a master of the behind-the-back shot and pass.
"If I can take one or two big plays away from him, it might reduce his impact on the game," Shevillo said.