Junior Brenna McCarry supported her team in every way when she was sidelined last year — and this year she’s back on the field.
Brenna McCarry makes a much better player than spectator.
McCarry is a junior striker on the Little Flower High School soccer team, and after starting as a freshman, the Mayfair resident had high hopes going into her second year as a starter. But three games into the season, it ended.
“I was making a move around a girl and I broke my left foot,” McCarry said. “I put all of my weight on it and stepped on a bad spot and it broke. I didn’t know it was broken right away, it was in the first half and I played the rest of the game. I didn’t know for a few days, but I went to the doctor and they told me it was broke.
“It didn’t hurt that bad, the worst part about it was that I couldn’t play. I was at every game, trying to help out, but I couldn’t get on the field. I didn’t like watching, but I had to be there. I wanted to show my support.”
This year, the Sentinels have McCarry’s support in every way possible. She’s back on the field and she’s enjoying a strong season after struggling last year.
Little Flower is 8–0 in Catholic League play and thus far has allowed just one goal, which came in a 9–1 victory over Bishop McDevitt. Other than that, the Sentinels are spotless on defense and they’re having little trouble finding the back of the net. McCarry has contributed eight goals so far.
It’s a huge improvement for a team that was below .500 a season ago and was ousted from the Catholic League playoffs in the first round.
This year, it’s the redemption tour.
“I really think this is more like us than last year,” McCarry said. “Things were good last year, it just didn’t click. I think, this year, we’re playing a lot better as a team. We have everything figured out and even though we can still get better, we’re playing really well.
“It’s great to see how good our defense is playing. We have such a good defense. That’s why we’re winning. It’s exciting to see our defense play the way they’ve been playing. Especially because we beat some good teams.”
Little Flower is the only unbeaten team in the Catholic League, and this year has already knocked off Lansdale Catholic, a team many expected to be the best in the league. Downing the Crusaders was especially satisfying because they’ve enjoyed a lot of success against Little Flower.
Not this year.
“They have beaten us a lot lately, so we really wanted to beat them,” McCarry said. “There are a lot of good teams in the Catholic League. We still have to play Ryan and Wood later, and they’re both good. But Lansdale Catholic is a team that’s knocked us out of the playoffs, so we really wanted to get that game.”
McCarry is happy with her team’s record, and she’s also happy with the play of her teammates. She credits them for the team’s success, but it’s clear she’s more than played her part this year.
By returning to the lineup, she provided the Sentinels with the firepower that they need to go along with the stingy defense. But she’s not just a goalscorer, she likes to do all the things that make a team successful. It’s what she does with the Philadelphia Soccer Club and it’s what she does at Little Flower.
“For my club team, I’ll play mostly forward, but I’ll play anywhere,” McCarry said. “At Little Flower, I try to be a playmaker and get my teammates involved, but if I have an open shot, I take it. I try to see what’s available and take that.
“This year, our defense has been great and the offense tries to help them. The more we keep the ball (in the attack zone), the easier it will be for our defense. We all try to do our job. If we do our job, we’re going to help each other.”
Little Flower still has massive games on its schedule. Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Ryan, the defending Catholic League champion, has one loss on the year, so the division is far from set, but McCarry believes that her team has a chance to be among the best when the season concludes.
“I think if we play our best, we can win the Catholic League and even more,” McCarry said. “But we’re not focusing on that, we’re focusing on our next game. We have to worry about the next game. That’s our attitude.”
Talent is one of the main reasons the Sentinels are doing so well. It also helps that girls are playing as a team and working for each other. But another main reason for the team’s success is confidence.
“A lot of people are surprised by what we’re doing, but we aren’t,” McCarry said. “Even though we didn’t do great last year, we knew we had a good team and we worked really hard to get better.
“We have a good defense, our coaches are really helping us. I think we can beat anyone if we play the way we know we can.”