Forging His Own Identity

While his twin brother has received more athletic accolades, Gilman's Kevin Carroll also has made his mark in sports.

May 03, 2006|By LEM SATTERFIELD | LEM SATTERFIELD,SUN REPORTER

SOON, HOWEVER, THEIR PARENTS, DENNIS AND ANN — For a time, the Carroll boys, Brian and Kevin, were raised like many twins. They dressed alike and slept in the same bedroom.

Soon, however, their parents, Dennis and Ann - who rarely referred to them as "The Twins" - thought it best to allow the boys' identities to develop more separately.

They started with different bedrooms at age 5. The brothers now share a Honda Accord during their drive to and from Gilman, but since kindergarten, the seniors have shared only one classroom, a Spanish course as juniors.

Still, having both swum and played football and lacrosse from nearly age 5, Brian and Kevin Carroll developed the same passion for sports. And even though Brian is considered the more accomplished athlete, the playing field is the one place he would prefer to share honors equally with his brother.

"I see Kevin as being very similar. In fact, I don't think he gets some of the credit he deserves," said Brian, 18, the elder of the fraternal twins by about 60 seconds and who, at 6 feet, 200 pounds, is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier.

Brian has been selected to the All-Metro team in lacrosse and was named The Sun's All-Metro Defensive Player of The Year as a linebacker. Kevin was named to The Sun's All-City lacrosse and football teams.

"When I get awards, Kevin's congratulatory to me and it's not a big deal to him," said Brian, who many consider to be the premier midfielder in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. "As players, I see us as being very complementary to each other. I don't see it as there being that big of a difference between us, really. I actually see us as being kind of the same."

Kevin said Brian "is certainly better at football and gets good publicity for his achievements, which is well-deserved. It doesn't concern me to be better than him at things. I'm like, `If he excels more than me, well, good for him.' "

But Kevin acknowledges that being on the same team as his brother raises his level of intensity and gives him a role model for his style of play. In Friday's 9-8 overtime victory over league-rival McDonogh, for example, Kevin assisted Brian's game-winner with 2.7 seconds left after tying the contest himself with his second goal late in the fourth period to send it into the extra session.

"We're competitive with each other most of the time, but mostly in helping to push each other in practice and games to get better," Kevin said. "We've both always played midfield and we're similar in that we like to dodge to the goal and score.

"We're a little bit different in that I'm pretty comfortable going from the wing or from behind the goal because I've played some attack, and he's more comfortable taking the ball in from up top. I can't really say I recall any specific times where there has been fierce competition between us."

Dennis Carroll does.

"When they were real young, I remember swimming, in particular, that Kevin used to beat Brian," their father said. "There were times when Kevin had better games than Brian, and vice versa, and we'd have to talk to both of them.

"As they got older, they learned to deal with it themselves. But as parents, when Brian gets an award for football, it may dampen our ability to be overly enthusiastic about it."

Kevin "is more of a between-the-lines player in terms of transition offense and defense and earning key possessions," Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said.

But Kevin has begun to assert himself lately, combining for six goals and two assists as the top scorer in each of the Greyhounds' recent victories over league rivals St. Mary's and Severn.

"Kevin does a lot of things that go unnoticed, and he's a lot tougher and a lot stronger than he looks," said Brian, who has 29 goals, 14 assists and more than 65 ground balls. "Kevin might not score the eventual goal, but he might draw the double team that sets up the play. Or he may set up the play with a long pass to the right spot, but not get the assist that leads to the goal."

Kevin has 22 goals, eight assists and more than 30 ground balls this season.

"This year, Kevin's been asked to play some attack, which really demonstrates his versatility and the completeness of his game," Matthews said. "Through it all, Kevin has played with the kind of tenacity and toughness that makes him well-respected among his teammates."

Kevin was impressive against Severn, scoring twice and scooping six ground balls to help end the Admirals' five-game winning streak. Hustling for ground balls and delivering solid checks, Kevin was part of a defense that held the Admirals to a season-low for goals in the Greyhounds' 6-1 victory.

"From being a defensive middie whom we have counted on in crucial situations, or being a great ground ball guy off the wings on faceoffs, Kevin has played so many different roles for us," Matthews said. "No one questions his talent for this game, but even more importantly, no one who knows Kevin at all questions his heart."

Kevin's resolve was tested earlier in the season when he injured his arm in practice.

"Kevin's elbow was swollen grotesquely, but he scored several goals despite that. He has had countless bangs, bumps and bruises, but I can honestly say I have never heard one word of complaint," Matthews said. "I'm confident I don't even know half of the injuries he's had because he just shows up and practices hard every day."

When it came time to choose a college, it was Brian who followed Kevin to the University of Virginia, not the other way around.

"Our plan was to each pick the right school for us, and if it happened to be the same school, that was fine," Kevin said. "We both weighed our options and ended up choosing Virginia. I'm glad we did. I'm excited about the fact that we'll spend our next four years there together."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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