Syracuse step ahead with Glatzel in back

Loyola tries to solve Baltimorean today

College Lacrosse

April 06, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

He has the skills to strip the ball from even the craftiest ballhandler, the speed to stay with almost any attackman, and the size and strength to keep dodgers away from his goalie's cage.

But Syracuse defender John Glatzel said it is another element he has at his disposal that has helped earn him the reputation as the premier defensive stopper in college lacrosse.

"No matter what, there is someone in practice that I can cover who's an All-American. It makes me a better player," said Glatzel, a Boys' Latin alum.

"If I'm going against somebody quick that week, I'll guard [Michael] Powell. If I'm preparing for someone who's big, strong and doesn't dodge that much, I'll face [Michael] Springer."

Syracuse's captain will lead the No. 2 Orangemen (7-1) into action today at the Carrier Dome against No. 3 Loyola in the weekend's most anticipated matchup.

The Greyhounds come in at 7-0, and Syracuse is, well, Syracuse.

Which means no shortage of offense from the Orangemen, who lead Division I with an average of nearly 15 goals per game, can be expected.

In college lacrosse, Syracuse's attack is comparable to the offense of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. But even the "Greatest Show on Turf" needs support, and the Orangemen get plenty of it from Glatzel.

With a guilty laugh, Syracuse coach John Desko said that with Powell, a first-team All-American on attack, and Glatzel anchoring the defense, the Orangemen have "the best of both worlds."

A two-time All-American, Glatzel, 6 feet, 200 pounds, has shut down some of the top attackmen in lacrosse the past couple of years.

It's not uncommon for opposing coaches to take the attackman whom Glatzel is guarding out of the game plan altogether.

"In a one-on-one situation, there are not too many attackmen that have scored on him. He's a great position player and he just doesn't make a lot of mistakes," said Desko.

Week in and week out, Glatzel is paired with the other team's top attackman.

Glatzel calls the Powell brothers - former teammates Casey and Ryan, and current Orangeman Michael - the best he has ever played against.

He also singled out Conor Gill, an All-America attackman from Virginia by way of St. Paul's.

Gill and Glatzel went head-to-head on several occasions in high school.

At Boys' Latin, Glatzel was The Sun's Player of the Year in 1997. He was heavily recruited by the Baltimore collegiate powers, but Syracuse pulled a huge recruiting coup in landing the defender, who had more ties elsewhere.

Several of his Lakers teammates went to Towson. Glatzel's cousins, Kevin and Gary Beach, played at Loyola. His twin brother, Tom, went to Notre Dame. The two brothers faced off in last year's final four in what John Glatzel called "one of the highlights of my career."

Then there was his uncle, Gary, and his father, Ed, both of whom played at Maryland. Ed was an All-America defenseman in 1973.

John Glatzel recalled several trips to College Park while growing up to watch the Terps' basketball and lacrosse teams, prompting a call home when the Maryland basketball team won the national championship Monday night.

"I called my Dad after midnight, or whenever the game ended, and he was pretty fired up, which is funny because he's usually in bed by 9:30," said Glatzel, who later explained why he opted to go to Syracuse.

"I always wanted to play at the highest level, and there's not anywhere else that can compete with Syracuse, year in and year out," he said.

Glatzel put an ugly incident during his sophomore season behind him. In February 1999, he was arrested with two other Syracuse players after a break-in at a campus gym.

After being suspended for the 1999 season and performing community service, Glatzel returned to the Orangemen and impressed his teammates enough to be voted the team's captain two consecutive seasons.

He will graduate in May with a dual major in accounting and finance, and already has a job lined up in Manhattan with the Waterhouse brokerage firm.

As for lacrosse, Glatzel will play for the U.S. team in the world championships in Perth, Australia.

But when you play lacrosse at Syracuse, all eyes are always focused on May. The Orangemen have been to 19 straight final fours.

"Nobody wants to be on that team that stops that streak," Glatzel said. "We've been to the finals all three years I've been here, and only won once. Hopefully, to balance things out, we can win another national championship."

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