James, the Lady Raiders’ starting goalkeeper, experienced first-hand McBride’s uncanny ability to score.
“It’s very hard to defend a McBride shot, and when you do, you have to cheer for yourself a little bit,” James said. “She’s good at faking out goalies and taking hard shots. It’s like I’m not even there. She sees nothing but the net.”
This coming from a senior goalkeeper who accumulated 140 saves this year and signed to play next year at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.
“She’s helped me become faster and quicker and be more prepared for better shooters against bigger competition,” James continued. “She challenges me in all ways I hope to be challenged.”
McBride, only a sophomore, finished the season with 89 goals, 22 of which came in the Class AAAAAA state tournament.
She scored five goals in Walton’s remarkable 13-12 comeback win in overtime against Lassiter in the semifinals, which allowed the Lady Raiders to advance to the state championship for the first time. She then tacked on five more in Walton’s 13-10 championship loss to Milton.
In the early rounds of the state tournament, McBride accounted for six goals apiece in one-sided wins over Kennesaw Mountain and Mill Creek.
For her late-season performances, on top of all she did earlier in the season, McBride is the 2014 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.
When McBride looks back upon the season, the win over Lassiter is still fresh. The Lady Trojans led by a goal with 2:26 left in the first overtime period when they were called off the field due to lightning in the area.
Once play resumed 30 minutes later, it took McBride 15 seconds to score the equalizer before Sophia Watkins scored the game-winner with just over a minute left to play.
“They were up by one when we went inside, and sitting in there with everybody was the craziest moment ever,” McBride said. “We were trying to figure out what to do when we got back out. When we scored two goals to go up, we needed a draw to hold it, and when Carly White got it, my heart stopped for a second.”
Not only can McBride score goals at will, she’s got both speed and a knack for getting the loose ball, since she first started playing the game in the sixth grade. Her aggressive nature is apparent, with 81 groundballs to go with the 89 goals.
And when McBride wasn’t drilling 1-on-1 with James, she would either practice against her father, Mark, or other friends and teammates.
She also plays for the Eagle Stix club team and traveled to tournaments as far away as Richmond, Va., And Baltimore.
It was James’ tenacity in club play that attracted the attention of Notre Dame’s coaching staff.
After making visits to the Irish, as well as Vanderbilt, Duke, Princeton and North Carolina, she determined that Notre Dame would be the best fit for her and committed to the Irish in January.
Once she finally arrives in South Bend, McBride will be playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the nation’s top conferences for women’s lacrosse.
“The spirit there was unbelievable,” McBride said. “I was wearing a Notre Dame shirt at the airport and four people stopped me to say nice things about it.”