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All Out, All the Time

Posted: February 15, 2008 2:16 a.m.
Updated: April 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Saugus goalkeeper Marina Constantinou

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Saugus goalkeeper Marina Constantinou is part-player, part-coach, part-cosmotology student, and all effort.

It may cost her a broken nose after colliding with an opposing player.
It may cost her time, like her cosmetology classes do, having to go every weeknight from 6-10 p.m. after her two-hour and 45-minute long soccer practices.
As a captain, it may mean doing and saying the things no one else wants to.
But the 17-year-old wouldn't want it any other way, especially on the soccer field.
"She runs the show back there," says head coach Lisa Rollo. "She has a good view of the field and she has a high soccer IQ so the defense really respects what she says."
Constantinou feels like it's as much her job to coach her teammates during the game as it is to make saves.
"From my point of view, I can see everything on the field," Constantinou says. "If something goes wrong, I blame myself. I don't blame anybody else."
For the 17-2-4 Centurions this season, things have rarely gone wrong defensively.
The senior Constantinou has allowed just eight goals so far. Four in pre-league, and four in Foothill League play with six of the eight having come in two games.
After a 3-1 league-opening loss to Hart, only one ball has rolled to the back of net on Constantinou's watch the rest of the way.
It's led to the program's first outright Foothill League title in school history and the No. 2 seed in the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs, which begin Saturday at home for Saugus.
"The thing with the defense is we all trust each other," says sweeper Jamie Havelin, who also plays on Constantinou's club team, Valley United Stars. "We couldn't do that without a keeper like Marina. You can't have an amazing defense without a good keeper behind you."
Havelin has seen a multitude of impressive saves by her goalkeeper, but she says what sticks out to her most was when Constantinou broke her nose in a game during club season, and she played the rest of the contest.
The senior played through another injury on Feb. 4 in the second matchup against Hart, when she collided with a Indians player knee-to-knee, keeping Constantinou on the ground for a couple of minutes.
She could barely walk around, but she stayed in. The Saugus goalkeeper sat out the final two league games with a deep tissue bruise in her right knee from the collision.
"No matter what injury, I will never walk out in the middle of a game," she says.
The Saugus goalkeeper has been on varsity since midway through her freshman year, when she was called up to replace the starting goalkeeper who had suffered an injury.
"She stepped up and she acted like she had been there the whole time," Rollo says. "She's been my starting keeper ever since."
This is Constantinou's first year as a captain, and it's a role she takes seriously.
The senior said she views it as being a person her teammates can come to about anything, soccer related or not.
She is also the player who tries to encourage her teammates as much as possible. Constantinou often does it via text message. She sent a text message that read: "Eat your veggies, drink your milk, and take your vitamins," to a group of sick teammates recently.
"She's kind of the like the cheerleader of the team," Havelin says. "She's there to inspire everyone. She sends us texts to keep us smiling throughout the day.
"She puts everyone first on the team before she deals with her own issues. It makes her someone to look up to."
Constantinou will take her game to the collegiate level in the fall, when she heads to Cal State Bakersfield, along with Havelin and Hart standout Sarina Coutin.
Along with getting her college education, Constantinou plans on getting her cosmetology license. She's already working her way toward that, putting in hours through her school's Regional Occupational Program.
The Saugus goalkeeper plans on being about halfway through the training she needs by the time she graduates high school, and will take classes when she can to complete the necessary coursework.
"Soccer and cosmetology are my main focuses in life," she says. "People ask me, 'Doesn't it stress you out?' If it's something I love, I enjoy doing it. It releases my stress."
Constantinou is about doing what she enjoys.
But in her eyes, there's only one way to do it.
All-out effort.


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