It’s a moment Bourne head field hockey coach Mike Massmann won’t soon forget.
Locked in a scoreless tie with Seekonk, which perennially sits atop the South Coast Conference Small Division standings, his Canalmen team drew a penalty corner with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Senior captain Taylor McCarthy, a defender who has seen little offensive action in her five-year stint as field hockey player, came up to the front lines. She settled a pass from classmate Sophie Stowe and hammered the ball past the Warriors’ goalie for the go-ahead goal.
The Canalmen were able to keep that one-goal lead against the Warriors earlier this month to score the 1-0 victory. It stood out to Massmann not only because they got a close win against a team that’s historically beaten them, but it showed the growth of his senior captain.
“I didn’t have to say anything to her. That’s what was so great about it,” he said. “She wanted the ball in the moment and read the situation and made a decision. You love to see that type of growth out of a player.”
That growth came in a short period of time for McCarthy, who began playing in the 8th grade. As a freshman she received the Most Improved award and has played four years on the varsity squad.
“That meant a lot to me because I worked very hard and that was only my second year. It was surprising to receive that,” McCarthy said.
But her rise to captaincy didn’t come without its struggles. As an 8th grader, McCarthy played on the JV team for a different coach and was told she’d be moved up to varsity her freshman season. But when it came time to move up, she was told she’d be a swing player, spending time on both varsity and JV.
“It was something that made my confidence go down, but it also made me want to work 10 times harder and I did,” she said. “It all paid off because the next year I was moved up.”
She flourished defensively under Massmann, who also serves as her lacrosse coach for the Canalmen in the spring. She’s played lacrosse since the 4th grade and, unlike field hockey, gets more opportunities to score as an offensive-minded player.
Outside of school, McCarthy works at Stop & Shop in Cedarville on the weekends.
What do you love about field hockey? What drew you to the sport, and what made you stick with it?
I was very hesitant about joining field hockey my 8th grade year, especially when I barely even knew how to hold the stick. But the first captains practice I attended made me feel so welcomed. The team is like a family: everyone is so comfortable around each other and I never dragged going to practice. It has always been something I have looked forward to.
What is your favorite pregame warmup music?
Every bus ride when we are returning back to our school, the team plays “Big Time Rush” by Big Time Rush. It just puts everyone in a good mood when we’re all singing along to it. Chance The Rapper’s “Handsome” is definitely a favorite for the time as well. But also “Big Booty Mix 11-16” by the group Two Friends, a mashup of songs, gets me pumped before games.
If you could be one fictional character, who would you be?
I would have to be Spider-Man because he saves the world without looking for anything in return, and he can swing around on buildings which is pretty cool.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore of role models?
My Mount Rushmore of role models would be my mom, dad, brother and Coach Massmann because they are the best group of people I know and put such a positive impact on the people around them.
Do you have any plans after graduation?
I hope to attend Roger Williams University or Franklin Pierce University to continue my education. I plan on majoring in health sciences, and hope to join a club field hockey team.
What is your favorite school subject?
It’s easily anatomy or any sciences. It’s so fascinating to learn how the body works and why it works the way it does.
What is your greatest high school moment, either athletically or academically?
My greatest high school moment would have to be beating Seekonk twice this season; that hasn’t happened in years and it was nice to have that accomplished.
Which three people would you invite to a dinner party? What would you serve?
I would invite my grandfather who passed two years ago. He was the most positive and talkative person that I would do anything to see him again. I would also invite my parents because they mean the most to me. I would serve us American chop suey because it’s a family favorite.
Which professional athlete do you most relate to?
I would like to say that I relate to Zdeno Chára. He is a great defensive player on the Bruins and wants nothing but to stop the puck.
You’re stranded on a deserted island and have only a backpack of your most prized possessions. What’s in your backpack?
I would bring a speaker of some sort, so I was able to listen to music. Secondly, I would bring a first-aid kit in case of any emergencies. I would also bring a fishing rod, so I was able to catch some fish for food and a fire starter just to make things a little less difficult.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to give a big thanks to my mom, Amy McCarthy. She has helped me so much throughout my high school sports career with bringing anything I forgot to the office and making it to every game she is able to make it to. She always pushes me to do my best and even when I mess up, she’s still proud of me. Secondly, I would like to give a big thanks to my dad, Steve McCarthy. He is my No. 1 supporter and will even drive an hour to my games just to watch me play. It means the world to me to see him standing on the sidelines. He always wants to see me succeed in life and he has been a really big help throughout the years I have played field hockey. And last, but not least, I would like to thank Coach Massmann. He has not been my coach throughout all five seasons, but he has been for three and he has not failed us once. The only thing Coach wants to see from us is a smile and it just shows how much he cares for the team. He has really pushed me to become the player I am today.