With her contagious smile and upbeat personality, Co-Captain Kelly McCarthy ’19 helps create a positive team environment and encourages the players to stay focused, according to Anna Bargman ’21.
Bargman said, “She always has a big smile on her face. Even when the team is down, when you come into the locker room, she’s always so happy, and it really brings our spirits up.”
McCarthy began playing the sport at the age of five. She quickly developed a passion for the sport and competed in a boys league until seventh grade.
“I used to play youth hockey and I played in the boys league up until the seventh grade and then I decided to switch to a girls league to get ready for high school because you can’t compete with the boys then. But I always really liked to play with the boys because they were always strong, fast, aggressive, and they definitely helped develop my play a lot,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy looks to her two older brothers as role models.
McCarthy said, “Growing up, whatever they did, I wanted to try out and do. My oldest brother, my cousins, and my dad all played hockey, so I definitely wanted to try it out, see if I was any good at it and also give my brothers a run for their money. We used to play in our unfinished basement and we would shoot against the wall and, even though we might have broken a couple of windows, it was definitely worth it and super fun.”
On the ice, McCarthy’s game is marked by her ability to be quick yet forceful, which helps her to be aggressive, according to Molly MacQueen ’21 and Head Coach Martha Fenton ’83.
MacQueen said, “Kelly is a very strong and powerful forward. She has very good hands and quite the snipe. She is a really talented goal scorer.”
“Her strength, speed, and all-out effort make her a force to be reckoned with!” wrote Coach Martha Fenton in an email to The Phillipian.
In addition to her skills on the ice, McCarthy is known for her leadership and commitment to the team, according to Bargman and MacQueen.
“She really emphasizes teamwork and I think that’s what makes Andover hockey what it is,” said Bargman, “The fact that it isn’t just five players on the ice playing the other team, it’s the whole team whether you’re on or off the ice, and I think she really helps bring us all together in that sense.”
“Kelly’s leadership is a crucial factor of the fun and success we have both on and on the ice. Her work ethic and spirit and love for the team make a huge impact,” added MacQueen.
During practice, McCarthy exhibits her leadership skills through enforcing focus on drills and cheering in games, according to Bargman and Coach Fenton.
“She’s a really good leader and she makes sure that everyone is on task and paying attention during drills. In games, she always makes sure that we’re loud and cheering for our teammates and even when we’re down, she’s always up on the bench, tapping everyone’s heads, getting everyone going again so that we can rally,” said Bargman.
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Fenton wrote, “Kelly is a natural leader. She displays her passion, enthusiasm, and love for the game and her team every day. Regardless of the sport, the season, or the situation, Kelly finds a way to bring positive energy and does everything in her power to encourage and push her teammates to do the same.”
McCarthy credits her teammates as motivation and mentors who led by example and guided her path to success.
“Seeing the commitment they have to the game, the work that they put in outside of practice and in the summer, and how much they love wanting to improve, they make me want to do just the same,” said McCarthy, “I think that having a team that can be fostered around support and encouragement with people who are willing to work together to make one another better each day, is something that’s super special about Andover hockey and I’m definitely grateful to be a part of it.”
McCarthy said that, throughout her Andover career, she has learned to not only be a role model to the younger players on the team, but to learn from her peers and coaches as well. Her constant drive to improve stems from watching others play and learning from them.
McCarthy said, “I’ve learned something that I think is true for a lot of aspects of life which is that there’s always going to be someone better than you, whether it’s someone on your team, an opponent, or your coach, someone who’s more knowledgeable. Instead of acting like you don’t have anything to learn, you should be open-minded and open to see how you can emulate someone else to just make yourself that much better.”