Tonawanda News — It had been about 10 years since the Cardinal O’Hara girls’ volleyball team had a player named as the Monsignor Martin Association’s Most Valuable Player or beat Mount St. Mary, coach Brad Lorich said.
The Lady Hawks accomplished both last season and Lorich attributes it all to senior Kelsey McCarthy, who said she wants to win back-to-back MMA MVP awards for the O’Hara program.
“Last year when we played Mount St. Mary she had like 31 kills, 11 blocks and eight aces. Normally the really good girls will get 16, 17 or 18 kills — she had double that,” Lorich said. “In the five games she had two errors. It was amazing. She almost won the game by herself. She was the reason we beat a team we can never beat. I’ll never forget that performance.”
McCarthy has been improving from the moment she stepped onto a volleyball court at O’Hara as a freshman. Lorich said she was always big and powerful, she just needed to learn the technical parts of the game.
“She played a year of travel volleyball this year and started to take the sport real serious,” he said. “Now she is teaching out there on the court, which is huge for me to have that extra help. Hearing the same thing I’m saying from another player is big for a lot of the other players.”
The Lady Hawks lost three of their top contributors from last season in Sara DiPasquale, Kesley Kobza and Mary McDermitt, who is now an assistant coach.
McCarthy said it hasn’t been easy without those players. DiPasquale was her best friend and McDermitt was the leader on the court as the team’s setter.
But the Lady Hawks are managing, constantly looking to McCarthy, who has taken on a more significant leadership role.
“It’s a huge responsibility to have everybody look up to you,” McCarthy said. “You know they’re trying to get you the ball and I have to work hard to execute and get the points. But it’s a team game and I try to maintain being captain and trying to produce on the court.”
Lorich said it has been a natural progression for McCarthy, who has never had a problem directing others on and off the floor.
“She has been vocal since Day One. I remember when she was a freshman and we got beat in a game, and she did a speech after the game and kind of called out other people for letting the seniors down,” Lorich said. “She wasn’t afraid then and she’s real charismatic.
“She’s a real people person. People like her so they aren’t afraid to follow her. When they see how good she is on the court that helps even more when she is trying to lead.”
McCarthy said she hopes to lead the Lady Hawks to an even better record this season and continue the momentum the program built last season with an over .500 record for the first time in over 10 years.
Lorich continues to be impressed with her ability to handle the pressure that comes with being the best.
“She gets the ball a ton. She is able to handle that load,” he said. “Even if she is in the back row she is still getting sets and scoring points for us. She plays great defense when someone of her size usually can’t do that because they’re not fast enough.
“She is smart and knows the right lanes to take and defensively at the net she can block, which is a big intimidation factor against the opposing team.”
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