HORNELL – Juliet Marino has been the last line of defense in the net for Hornell’s last four Lady Red Raider years football. During that span, she amassed 217 saves while allowing only 34 goals to be scored. She won 41 games as a goalkeeper for Hornell and last season helped her side win a Class B Section V Championship while allowing just one goal in three Section games.
But the most impressive thing about the standout eldest has almost nothing to do with her statistical resume. The most impressive thing about Marino is the type of person she is off the court and the type of leader she has become.
According to people close to the program, Marino is the kind of leader who constantly speaks up, holds everyone accountable and regularly reminds others of the expectations of what it means to be a Hornell football player.
“She’s a great leader, and she’s been here so long that she’s an extension of the coaching staff at this point. She’s had a ton of individual success and been part of some team success and she knows what it takes,” HHS coach Mike Wilkinson said. “In these tough times, that’s what you expect from a leader and a four-year-old. She will step in and say this is the right way to do things, this is how we do it and this is how you have to behave if you want to be part of this group. She understands.
Wilkinson also noted that when she’s not training or at school, she still has a positive effect on the soccer program and the community. In her very little free time, Marino can often be seen at youth football games, either refereeing or taking a moment to help a young girl learn the game a little better.
“She’s a great kid, and as a second-year student, she told me she was going to be the starting goaltender one day, and it didn’t take her that long to get there. Outside of the team, she also does great things. She referees for the little kids, the kids in the youth program love her and my kids love her,” Wilkinson said. “He’s an awesome kid in every way and he’s the kind of person who would give you the shirt off your back. He’s the kind of kid you’d be proud to call your own. He’s a competitor and a lover at the same time, and she will be truly missed when she is gone.
Hornell athletic director John Cardamone said he thinks Marino is one of the best examples of what it means to be a student-athlete in the Hornell City School District. She is mature, responsible and she represents her community with pride, no matter where she is or what she is doing.
“Juliet is what a Hornell High School athlete should be. She’s super ultra-competitive and she’s a great student. She’s always polite in our building, and she’s the epitome of a Hornell athlete in that she’s a great kid, has high averages, and does really well in school,” said said Cardamom. “She’s the kind of girl you want to hang your hat on as an athletic director because she’s a model student and citizen. She’ll never let you down, and she’s the kid that makes you proud to wear that H-block.”
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For Wilkinson, the list of Marino’s good qualities is endless, but his tenacity to improve is the one thing that clearly stands out from the rest. She constantly pushes to grow not only herself, but also the people around her. And that’s one of the things that helps turn average teams into championship contenders.
“She can take criticism and she can take compliments. But she is always working and she is never happy. I will remember her as the kind of kid who was never good enough for herself, and the team was never good enough. She was never satisfied and she was always pushing to improve,” Wilkinson said. “I think her greatest strength is that she is never happy and always working to improve.”
This desire to improve has led her to focus on ways the current team can continually improve. Right now it’s clear the skill level is there, but Marino knows the only way for Hornell to get to the next level is to keep learning to play together and succeed together on and off the pitch. . .
Right now we’re just trying to get our team together and we definitely need to play more together. You should at least be friends and hold each other accountable. That’s really what we’re trying to focus on right now,” Marino said.
But with Marino leading the net, expect Hornell to contend for a shot in a back-to-back Section V championship.