Duo's goal one in the same

Millon, Marechek may not look, act alike, but results are similar for Bayhawks

Lacrosse

July 21, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

They are lacrosse's version of the Odd Couple.

One has the catchy nickname, the movie-star looks and the flashy, often jaw-dropping skills. The other rarely shows emotion, and is so quick and elusive that several aspects of his offensive repertoire often go unnoticed.

Bayhawks attackmen Tom Marechek and Mark Millon acknowledge that, on and off the field, they are vastly different. But they both will also tell you that, together, their games are as compatible as those of any two attackmen you will find.

"From Day One, we just have worked really well together," said Marechek, who was given the nickname "Hollywood" when he was growing up in Canada because of his showmanship on the field and colorful personality off it.

"Mark's a good feeder from behind, and a good dodger, and I complement him well by getting into space, and finishing the ball when I can."

Millon, 31, and Marechek, 33, make up perhaps the league's most potent one-two punch for the Bayhawks, who entered Major League Lacrosse's All-Star weekend with a 7-3 record and remain in first place in the National Division.

Millon is among the league leaders with 33 goals and 13 assists. Marechek has 24 goals and nine assists.

Both players will suit up for the National Division team in today's 4 p.m. MLL All-Star Game at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie.

"They're different-style players, but both are certainly unbelievably capable and have amazing skills," said Bayhawks player-coach Gary Gait, who will coach and play for the National team.

Speed and a heavy, accurate shot may well be Millon's greatest assets, but Marechek said it is a more subtle skill that makes the 5-foot-8, 184-pound left-hander one of the most feared attackmen in the world.

"He equally has a right and a left hand that are a step beyond anybody's right now," Marechek said.

Millon, the Most Valuable Player in last year's All-Star Game in Bridgeport, Conn., also has his trademark split dodge, a move in which he backs off his defender, then runs right at him before dodging to either side to take a shot or feed.

Marechek's calling card is his ability to go behind the back in passing or shooting situations. He says he developed that style in Canada, where smaller goals forced him to find more creative ways to score.

"He's the best finisher in the game. He makes goalies look like fools," said Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano, also an All-Star. "I know. He's done it to me a couple of times in practice."

Added Millon: "You won't see him score a lefty goal all season, but his off-hand just happens to be behind the back. The American lacrosse mentality is that's showy and Hollywood stuff, but he uses that to his advantage."

The 5-10, 200-pound Marechek chuckles at the "Hollywood" references. With thick blond hair, long sideburns, accentuated facial features and a golden-brown tan, he knows that it would be hard for him to dispute the label.

Then there's his demeanor on the field, which contrasts greatly with that of the intense Millon.

"I just always was a flashy guy. I love to sing in front of the guys; I love being around the team. I try to make the game as fun as possible," Marechek said. "Mark's more serious at times, especially during games."

Marechek, who followed the Gait brothers from Canada to Syracuse, says his first introduction to Millon, a Long Island, N.Y., native and Massachusetts alum, was at the 1994 world championships in England.

Months later, the two won a club championship together on a Mount Washington team that included Gait.

At the time of the 1998 world championships in Baltimore, the two players, representing bitter rivals, were roommates.

"We were kidding with each other the whole time," said Millon, who lived with Marechek for six years. "But not for a second was there animosity. ... We're as close to brothers as you can be."

It was Marechek who, as a member of the Philadelphia Wings of the indoor National Lacrosse League, went to his coach and suggested that the team trade for Millon, who at the time was on the Syracuse Smash.

Millon teamed with Marechek to lead the Wings to the league title in 2001.

Several months later, Millon returned the favor. As one of three players assigned to the Bayhawks before the league's inaugural draft, Millon was asked by then-Bayhawks coach Brian Voelker if he had any preference about whom the team drafted.

Millon's answer was no surprise.

"I just wanted to play again with Tommy," he said. "We're real close, we play very well together and I know all about his ability and what he brings to a team."

MLL All-Stars

What:Major League Lacrosse's second annual All-Star Game, pitting the National Division vs. the American Division. There will be an autograph session before the game and a player skills competition at halftime.

When:Today, 4 p.m.

Where:Prince George's Stadium, Bowie

Gates open:2:30 p.m.

TV:Comcast SportsNet

Tickets:Call 301-464-4880, or visit majorleaguelacrosse.com

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