Defense Defines St. Anthony's Soccer

Senior Mark Jecewiz anchors one of the nation’s best defenses for 9-2-1 Friars.

When Don Corrao scans the field he sees the latest – and last – in a line of soccer-smart brothers. It’s been a pipeline that kept revitalizing the program over much of the last decade.

Like two brothers before him, Mark Jecewiz has been an indispensable cog in the St. Anthony’s boys soccer team. Jecewiz, a two-year starter from Smithtown, is a senior defender and the enforcer behind one of the nation’s best defenses. 

“We wish there was a fourth,” co-Coach Corrao joked.

But he’ll gladly accept what the Jecewiz family has already contributed. Older brother Keith is a senior striker at Providence College while Nick graduated from the South Huntington school in 2007. 

St. Anthony’s handed Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA rival Kellenberg a 4-1 loss in Uniondale Thursday to improve to 9-2-1 overall (6-0-1 league).

With Mark Jecewiz anchoring the defense, the Friars have outscored league foes 31-2, including a scoreless tie with Chaminade on Sept. 18. The teams meet again to close the season Oct. 25 – with the top seed in the playoffs likely on the line.

“The first goal is to win the league, then the league championship and then go to states and win that also,” Jecewiz said. 

St. Anthony’s is ranked 35th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The Friars’ season includes a 2-0 win over then-No. 2 Martin Luther King, a PSAL power.

The Friars have used four different players in goal, but one constant has been Jecewiz and senior defender Joe Busuttil. 

“Teamwork: Everybody works together and fits in well,” co-Coach Gene Buonaiuto said. “That’s our biggest strength.”

It starts with the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Jecewiz.

“He’s very comfortable with whoever he’s matched up with,” Corrao said. “It’s his IQ to be honest. His speed is deceiving. He’s quicker than he looks. And he has a nose for the ball.” 

After going scoreless as a junior, Jecewiz (3 goals, 3 assists) has taken advantage of opportunities when they appear. 

And after falling to St. John the Baptist, 3-1, in the title game a year ago, Jecewiz and the Friars simply hope to seize the ultimate opportunity come the playoffs in November.

A Jacewiz has helped deliver a Catholic championship before. Will the family legacy continue?

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