One day earlier on Sept. 18 — Mary Lacey Gilbride — a 2008 Visitation grad and former All-Met lacrosse player – died at her home in Alexandria after a lengthy battle with depression.
Despite never picking up a stick during her high school career, Gilbride, 24, assistant-coached the Cubs’ hockey squad in 2011 and 2012. She also led winter workouts for a “gamut of athletes” at the Northwest school.
“She just had a good mind for the game, and for sports in general,” Cubs Coach Karen Zarchin said.
Visitation senior Kelly Myers starting playing lacrosse for Mary Lacey during the sixth grade in Fort Hunt-area youth leagues.
“As soon as she walked into the room, you could feel her presence,” Myers said of Gilbride. “It was something unlike any other person I’ve ever met.”
Also unique to Gilbride, said Myers, was her competitive spirit.
Before the start of practice one day last fall, Zarchin informed the team that Gilbride would lead it in warm-ups.
For her first trick, Mary Lacey prescribed full field-length lunges. Myers remembers thinking that she could handle it, because surely, that would be the extent of the day’s calisthenics.
“Forty-five minutes later we were dead,” Myers said. “But Mary Lacey said, ‘that was just the beginning, now we’re going to go onto the next set.’ ”
“Seeing her regard that as an easy warm up,” Myers said, “which we took as the hardest warm-up ever just speaks to her character and ability.”
McNevin Morris — Gilbride’s high school lacrosse coach – witnessed that talent for four straight years from 2005 to 2008.
“It was like fishing with dynamite having her out there,” Morris said. “She was just so much more physical, more talented, and smarter than everybody on the field.”
One of Morris’s fondest on-field memories of Mary Lacey is the behind-the-back, trick shot goal she scored in a 2007 game against National Cathedral School.
“At the time at least, that [shot] was pretty rare in women’s lacrosse, especially at the high school level,” Morris said. “Even people on the other team were high-fiving her.”
Gilbride’s sisters Annabelle (a senior lacrosse player at the University of Denver) and Lindsay and her club lacrosse coach Bob Stevenson all spoke at her Sept. 23 funeral.
Annabelle and Lindsay made it a point to attend the Cubs’ hockey game the next day, a 3-1 home win over the Potomac School.
For Zarchin, who considers herself close friends with Gilbride, pressing on with field hockey is part of the grieving process.
“I needed the therapy just as much as the kids needed me to be there,” Zarchin said.
When the Cubs (6-2) took the field Tuesday in Alexandria to take on St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, they did so with a more abiding memorial to Gilbride.
Located three inches above the “V” in Visitation, the stitched patch with those same initials serves as a physical reminder of what the folks at Visitation already know.