When Andover Field Hockey Captain Kelly McCarthy ’16 first arrived on campus in September 2012, she had never picked up a field hockey stick. Her experience in ice hockey and lacrosse, however, allowed her to make the team as a Junior.
Starting her career as a forward, she played two years at that position before moving to the defense to fill a need for her team. McCarthy’s improvement has been astronomical over the course of four years, with her development culminating in a verbal commitment to Columbia University to continue her field hockey career.
Head Coach Kate Dolan said, “Kelly has truly made herself into the player and leaders she is. Her first two years she was a forward, but then we decided to move her to defense because she is a very strong communicator and it helped to have her positive, calm and clear voice on defense. She has invested a great deal of time, effort and hard work into improving all aspects of her game, and it is a testament to her work ethic and drive that she will continue playing field hockey at the collegiate level. She is a great role model for her teammates.”
McCarthy models her game after her Captain from her Junior year, Cara Daly ’13, who now plays at Trinity College. A strong communicator, McCarthy credits many of her strengths on defense to what she learned from her mentor. “My Captain [Junior] year was Cara, and she was a back. I really looked up to her – she was a strong player and really good at communicating on the field. She was kind of my first role model, and I’m a back as well so I [hope] to model myself after what she does,” added McCarthy.
McCarthy’s communication on defense has been crucial in Andover’s success this year, with the team’s record standing at 10-2-2. The defensive unit has conceded only seven goals through ten games.
Ashley Tucker ’18 added, “She is such a strong defender, and the whole team knows that we can rely on her.”
McCarthy’s capability to lead her defense and stop incoming members of the opposing offense gives more flexibility to her midfield. “Her strong defense allows our forwards and midfielders to be more aggressive and take chances on the field,” continued Tucker.
Her inclusive, team-first attitude has been adopted by her teammates. Beth Krikorian ’17 said, “McCarthy is supportive and positive on the field, and the rest of the team follows her lead.”
Lauren Overly ’17 said, “This year’s team is one of the most cohesive, supportive and tight-knit teams I have ever been on, and it is largely this way because of [McCarthy’s] leadership.”
With her final season nearing its end, McCarthy looks to continue Andover’s strong start to the season and bring its momentum into the championship tournament.