The junior defender, who received All-Main Line lacrosse honors as a sophomore last spring, led the Patriots’ defense in limiting shot opportunities against a strong Garnet Valley attack as Carroll defeated the Jaguars at the recent Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival. Off the field, Neary is involved with the Best Buddies program at Archbishop Carroll. Her mother, Jackie Neary, has coached the women’s lacrosse team at Cabrini University for two decades.
Q:Have you always played defender? What attracted you to the position? What attributes do you feel are most important for a defender?
A: Up until around my freshman year at Carroll, I was a low attack all my life. When I got to Carroll I think Coach Jess [assistant coach Jessica Lake, who played for Carroll and James Madison University] and coach [Lorraine] Beers saw more potential in a different position for me which was low D. I was definitely scared for the big change at first, but I trusted them and knew they knew what was best, and it ended up changing the prospective of the game for me. Defense is is such a major key in the game of lacrosse. There are many talents that come with being a defender: fast feet, speed for running the ball out, good anticipation, most definitely communication and composure. Defense is the backbone to a team.
Q: What (in your opinion) was the key to your team’s defense against Garnet Valley?
A: I personally think the key was our defense playing together as a unit – we knew Garnet is a great team so we needed to play together. All four of our low D is very talented and when we play together as a unit we’re most definitely dangerous and I think that’s what we did against Garnet.
Q: What did it mean to you to participate in the KSF Lacrosse Festival? What is your most vivid memory of your team’s game at the Festival – can you share it with us?
A: Playing in the Katie Samson is something we as a team most definitely look forward to. It’s not just another game; there’s something special that comes along with it because of the powerful meaning of the day. My best memory of the Festival was this year’s game against Garnet Valley – it was just such a competitive game that we wanted to play and the atmosphere of the Festival makes it more than just a game.
Q: You wear No. 11 for Carroll. Is there a reason you chose that number?
A: It was the number my Dad (Joe Neary) wore when he played lacrosse for Ridley High School.
Q: What do you think is the best part of your game, and what are you working on most currently?
A: I think the best part of my game is my anticipation – that’s what Coach Jess tells me. I love being able to see and know where that next pass is gonna go and being able to slide up feeling confident that I can get that interception and run it out. What I’m working on currently is my 1v1 ‘s and having fast feet.
Q: Your mother Jackie Neary started the women’s lacrosse program from scratch at Cabrini University two decades ago. What has been the most important thing she has taught you about lacrosse?
A: My mom has taught me many things in my life and will continue to give me great advice on and off the field. I think the most important thing my mom has taught me with lacrosse is having that grit. Nothing is life is handed to you. And nothing in the game of lacrosse is handed to you. You have to work for what you want every game and practice is a battle and to win the battles you need that special grit.
Q: Tell us a little about the Best Buddies program at Carroll. What sparked your interest in this program?
A: Best Buddies is a great extracurricular activity that Carroll has to offer to the students it involves the students at Carroll to interact with the students of Saint Catherine’s day school. which is a school for the special needs. I started this last year and it’s been great. I love my buddy Anwar, he never fails to make me smile and I never see him not smiling. When I first came to Carroll I always heard a lot of talk about Best Buddies and how great it was so I really wanted to see for myself so I decided to try it out, and it turned out being great for me.
Fun facts – Shea Neary
Favorite athlete: Mia Hamm.
Favorite pregame pump up song: All of the Lights, by Kanye West.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: London.
Favorite pregame meal: cheesesteak from the Archbishop Carroll cafe.
Person I most admire: “One person who I admire is my mom. I admire her because she beat cancer when she was pregnant with me and I’m just beyond lucky to have her in my life. Without my mom I wouldn’t be where I am today or be the person who I am today.”
Favorite color: Blue.
Family members: parents Joe and Jackie and three older siblings – brothers Jake and Sean, sister Jackie.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)