It’s amazing what competitive fire, confidence, speed and talent can do. All those qualities have helped make Michele Corona the high school field hockey player that she is.
Corona was a big reason why Shoreham-Wading River showed improvement last year and nearly made it into the playoffs. She’s also a big reason why the Wildcats look like a good bet to see the postseason this fall.
The senior right midfielder was an All-County honorable mention player last year, totaling 10 goals and 11 assists as Shoreham went 8-8, a slight step up from 6-8 the previous year.
Shoreham’s second-year coach, Jenna Stevenson, knew how much Corona meant to the team.
“She [played] a really big role for us,” Stevenson said. “She put up a lot of goals and a lot of assists, but she also uses her speed, which is really helpful. She won a game for us against Harborfields in overtime by scoring, taking the ball up the field by herself.
“She’s competitive. She just has that extra drive … She just has that competitive edge, which I think is always so important, the will to win.”
And then there’s Corona’s speed to consider. That’s a big part of her game, too.
“She’s definitely cleaned up her skill work, I would say, because she’s always had the speed,” Stevenson said. “She’s actually improved her speed even more, which I didn’t think was possible, but she did.”
Corona, one of Shoreham’s captains, is in her fourth year on the team and third as a starter. What was her take on her work in 2017?
“I think I had a pretty good season,” she said. “I definitely got better from my 10th-grade year. I think, honestly, the coaches helped me become a better player.”
A dose of confidence helped, too.
“I guess I got more confident,” she said. “Sometimes I wouldn’t go to the ball just because I’m nervous of missing it, but now I feel like I just got to go for it and good things will happen.”
Two years ago Corona became good friends with a teammate one year younger than her, Summer Steimel. The two say they are similar in so many ways. “We instantly clicked,” said Corona.
Steimel, a center midfielder, was a key piece in the Shoreham offense last year as a sophomore, registering 12 goals and two assists. That sort of production brought her All-County honors.
This year Shoreham is seeded fifth in Suffolk County Division II, a sign of the growing respect the team has gained.
“I thought we had a really good season” in 2017, Stevenson said. “We put up some fights against teams that were ranked a lot higher than us and I think that helped us out because we got ranked higher this year. I think we definitely proved ourselves even though we didn’t make the playoffs because we showed ourselves against some of the better teams.”
What would Corona like to get out of her final high school season?
“I want to make playoffs, for sure,” she said. “I’ll be very upset if we don’t.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River right midfielder Michele Corona working on her stickwork during practice Tuesday evening. (Credit: Bob Liepa)