PHILADELPHIA >> Senior Molly Grady helped the Cardinal O’Hara field hockey team qualify for the state tournament last fall.
This spring, Grady, who didn’t begin playing lacrosse until she was an eighth grader, was a member of the first O’Hara team to take part in the PIAA lacrosse playoffs.
Grady scored a goal, added an assist and made five draw controls for the District 12 champion Lions in their PIAA Class 2A opener against Gwynedd Mercy in a game played at Northeast High’s Charles Martin Memorial Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
That proved to be far from enough to prevent O’Hara (13-7) from dropping a 17-3 decision. Gwynedd Mercy (16-6), the fourth-place finisher from District 1. will face Bishop Shanahan, the District 1 runner-up, in a quarterfinal Saturday.
Grady is headed to Catholic University, where she will study nursing and play lacrosse.
“When I started playing lacrosse, I really fell in love with it,” said Grady, who played for Springfield A.A. “I started playing field hockey when I was in fifth grade. I just seemed to like lacrosse more. Maybe it was the chance to be more aggressive than you can be when you play field hockey.
“And it was good being able to stand up while you’re playing instead of bending over to play the ball like you’re always doing in hockey. But I did have a lot of fun when I was playing field hockey.”
Gwynedd Mercy hit O’Hara with four goals in the first 5½ minutes of Tuesday’s game and kept the pressure up on both ends of the field, gaining a 33-11 advantage in shots on goal and forcing the Lions into 15 turnovers.
Grady has played for three head coaches in her four seasons at O’Hara. This spring, Rebecca Dolenti wasn’t named the Lions’ head coach until the week before preseason practice began.
“She’s always told us that we might not win every game, but we’ll never be outhustled,” Grady said. “We did a lot of running this year.”
The Monarchs used four goals from seniors Hailey Durkin and Danielle Senour, who also chipped in with a pair of assists, as well as junior Kendall Seifert to move on in state play.
Grady finally broke through for O’Hara after her team fell behind, 13-0. She had a good scoring opportunity before that on an 8-meter shot but couldn’t convert.
“I had a bad angle,” she said with a smile. “This might have been our last game, but it was great the way Rebecca came in so late and brought us together.”
Dolenti, who is completing the final course she needs to graduate from Neumann this summer, was happy with the way her team’s season progressed.
“They did better than they had before,” the former Pottsgrove High athlete said. “They gave us their effort, and it will be good to be able to work with them before next season begins instead of stepping in at the last minute.
“We’re losing seven seniors, but I’m hoping those who are coming back will want to make it to the state tournament again next year.”