Drawing praise, defense Boys soccer: Senior midfielder Kevin Corradini is leading St. Mary's to a 10-0 league record and earning respect -- and heavy marking -- along the way.

October 11, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Sometimes the simplest gestures speak volumes.

After St. Paul's ended St. Mary's season last fall with a 1-0 win in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference semifinal, the victorious Crusader seniors made a point of finding St. Mary's Kevin Corradini, then a junior, to shake his hand.

That's respect.

"Kevin's been around so long. It's going to be interesting to see what it's like without him next year," said St. Mary's coach Jamie McNealey of the fluid, skilled player completing his fourth season as center-midfielder.

Corradini and the Saints have been a model of consistency the last three years, winning at least 11 games in each and claiming a conference-title share in 1995. Already 12-2 and still perfect in the league with a 10-0 mark, the senior-oriented Saints want more.

"A lot of us have been together for four years, and we're really bonding well. Coach McNealey has us focusing on the positives," said Corradini, who has three goals and six assists. He has 18 goals and 19 assists career.

Corradini made his presence known from the start, when he first arrived at St. Mary's as a shy and lanky freshman.

"He came right in and established himself as a quality player," said McNealey. "His work ethic and dedication to the game was evident right from the get-go. He covers a lot of area for us, and when other teams bring their best, his game rises. That transfers to the rest of the team."

Corradini, who plans to study engineering in college with hope of pursuing a career in architecture, took his game to a higher level last season when the Saints lost seven starters to graduation.

After scoring a combined six goals and six assists in his first two seasons, Corradini took charge with a nine-goal, seven-assist effort that had the Saints again in the mix for a conference title.

That performance helped set the tone for this season.

"This group came in the best physical shape I've seen, and we were able to totally concentrate on soccer from the start," said McNealey. "In the 1-0 loss to St. Paul's in the semis [last fall], we didn't play very well, and it left a bitter taste.

"I think everyone recognized that and put in the hard work, realizing the possibility of making something special happen."

Every time Corradini touches the ball, something special can happen.

He put a direct kick from just outside the 18-yard line in the top left corner and set up another goal to help the Saints beat St. Paul's, 2-0, earlier in the season.

Respect also brings heavy marking, which Corradini has experienced aplenty this season.

"I feel honored knowing other teams are focusing on marking you, but it can also get a little frustrating," he said. "I'm used to scoring goals, but actually it helps create for others."

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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