Lacrosse, Field Hockey
Favorite athletes: Zach Ertz & Michelle Dejulius
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: (Scoring) 100 goals
Most embarrassing/funniest memory competing in sports: Bringing out team Scooter Roger to every game
Music on playlist: Pregame song was “Baina,”love country music
Future plans: Major in business undecided at UMass Lowell
Words to live by: “Outwork everyone”
One goal before turning 30: Visit Bali and travel Europe
One thing people don’t about me: My favorite movie as kid was Shrek
By Craig Ostroff
In the midst of a stellar senior season, Upper Dublin midfielder Jenn McCarry netted the 100th goal of her high school lacrosse career as part of a four-goal effort on May 10.
While many would be happy to step into the spotlight for achieving such a milestone, McCarry instead chose to share the accolade with someone who had never had the chance to hit 100.
McCarry’s brother Brian is a 2020 Upper Dublin graduate. He entered his senior season for the Cardinals’ boys’ lacrosse team with 91 goals, but when COVID cancelled last year’s spring sports, his senior campaign ended before it ever began and he never had a chance to reach triple digits.
So his sister did it for him.
“I really wanted to hit 100 for both of us,” said the youngest of three McCarry siblings, who credits much of her competitive nature to playing sports with her older brothers. “I really wanted that as a shout-out to my brother. Playing sports with my brothers when we were younger, that’s really where I developed the competitive spirit I have. Having the goal of reaching 100, it gave me that energy to try to do it for both of us.”
That her 100th goal came as part of a 16-3 victory was also meaningful for McCarry, for whom personal achievements always take a backseat to team successes. In this case, the milestone was a credit to all those who came before her … who coached, taught, and inspired her … and who played alongside her.
“My teammates and coaches have been so supportive of me in getting to that goal,” McCarry said. “I always want to keep improving, and this was something I wanted to reach for for the team, to help team in whatever way possible. It’s something I worked hard for, and I’m proud of it, but it’s as much a milestone for the team as it is for me. My team is always so supportive.”
Her senior season was loaded with new challenges for McCarry. A natural attacker, she shifted to midfield this season to help fill a needed role for the Cardinals. The position change meant that McCarry would be covering more ground than she would as an attacker, and it also called for her to hone new skills such as draw control.
“Jenny is a true attacker, and she’ll be doing that in college, but we needed her in the midfield,” said Cardinals’ coach Dee Cross. “You need your best players to be all over the field. So we’re asking her to change her natural position, and she’s going back to that position in college, so she very well could have said she wanted to continue to improve as an attacker. But with Jenny, it’s always, ‘Yes, Coach, whatever you say, whatever you need.’ It’s a true testament to the kind of person she is.
“Being a middie is a big job, it’s a big adjustment fitness-wise. You go from working around the cage and the crease to being all over the field, she took the draw for us this year, whatever we needed her to do, she’s willing to do.”
New position, new skills, new ground to patrol … and still McCarry scored a team-high 71 goals and collected 26 assists, 50 draw controls and 20 caused turnovers.
“Physically, I felt like I was ready,” McCarry said. “When we didn’t have a lacrosse season my junior year, I did a lot of running, I worked out every day to cope with COVID. I was physically ready, and I wanted to go into my senior year in shape.
“For things like draws, I just had to become a student of girls that would normally take the draw. I would go up to coaches after practice to ask about the tactics on the draw. I would study and work at it. And it’s a credit to my teammates as well. They were great on the circle. Draw was a learning experience, but it made me a more well-rounded player. I’m glad I got to learn a new skill.”
McCarry ended her senior season as a First-Team All-Suburban One American Conference selection and was voted the Flying Cardinals’ MVP by her teammates.
“That means a lot to me,” McCarry said. “I love my teammates, I love being a part of this team. And we have a lot of great players on this team, so it really means a lot to me that they felt that I was worthy of MVP.”
Few could argue McCarry’s worth to the team. In addition to her output on the field, McCarry and her fellow seniors provided invaluable leadership to a young team that would need its underclassmen to develop quickly.
In McCarry, the younger players saw not only a supreme talent, but an unmatched work ethic and an ideal role model.
“From the moment I met her as a freshman, I knew the type of athlete she could become because she’s such a hard worker,” Cross said. “She was already a good athlete, but because of her work ethic, she just got better and better every year.
“Her work ethic is something to be admired and something I hope the younger kids watched. I would leave practice and she’d be throwing the ball against the wall on the tennis courts. There’s snow all over the field and she’s still out there shooting. That’s what you want the younger kids to see, ‘This is who you want to be, this is how you can do it.’”
McCarry’s work ethic comes from an unending desire to improve. Never one to rest on her laurels, McCarry aims to surround herself with those who will keep her focused on bettering her game.
“I like to put myself around people who push me,” she said. “I’ve played for Ultimate Lacrosse since fifth grade, so I’ve always been around people who wanted to get to the next level and stand out.
“It’s a credit to my coaches and teammates. I always want to help my team and get better, and the people around me always wanted me to get better. So that pushes me. I definitely think I’m a product of my environment.”
McCarry and her senior classmates helped mold the younger players through a brutal preseason schedule and the Cardinals made a strong showing in the league. The Cards finished the season at 9-8 overall, 8-3 in the Suburban One American Conference, and earned a berth in District One Playoffs.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure this season, but we actually prepared well for that,” McCarry said. “Our coaching staff did a great job, and as a senior class, we focused on chemistry this year, focused on building the underclassmen’s confidence.
“We didn’t have as many preseason workouts as we had in the past, so that was definitely a challenge. We wanted to make it inclusive this year and make everyone feel like part of the team off the bat. And as seniors, we knew we had to step up our game and be leaders for the underclassmen, and set the expectations for what it takes to be successful at this level.”
McCarry—who plays field hockey in the fall and earned Second Team All-League honors this year—will head to University of Massachusetts Lowell in the fall to continue her lacrosse journey.
“I’ve always had a passion for lacrosse and I always knew I wanted to play in college,” said McCarry, who is leaning toward a business major. “I originally wanted to go in-state, but I was so happy when I found UMass Lowell – it felt very much like a home away from home. I went on a visit and everyone was so welcoming and funny, I felt immediately like I could see myself there. I met with the coaches, who want me to grow as a player and person, too. I’m really excited to go.”
That excitement, passion for the sport, and work ethic make up the legacy that McCarry leaves behind, that the returning players will use to make themselves better for next year’s Cardinal team.
“I hope I’ve been able to show them that if you want to succeed, you have to work for it, talent alone isn’t enough, you have to keep setting goals and working on getting better so you can reach them,” McCarry said. “I think that’s what makes a program really successful. You want to create a positive team atmosphere, have that inclusiveness for everyone on the team, and know that you’re going to have to work hard for what you want to achieve.”
“Athletes like Jenny don’t come around all the time,” Cross said. “She leads by example and she shows the rest of the team what they can achieve if they put the time into it. They are going to get better and better, just like she did. That’s her legacy, showing the younger players that they can become the best they can be by following what she did, and that’s a cool thing for her to leave behind.”
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