Volleyball, Basketball, Lacrosse
“Bump, Set, Spike, Win. GO SAINTS!” echoed through the gym and encouraged the Saints team to victory. Head Volleyball Coach Betsey Rice, described Dara Brunelli O’Hara and the 1993 varsity volleyball team as “one of the best she has ever coached because the team is made up of girls who really want to work together and win.” Dara, a three-sport athlete and a Dean’s list student, made athletics a way of life by the time she graduated from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in 1993. She played four years of varsity volleyball, four years of varsity basketball, and four years of varsity lacrosse, and was named captain for each team.
Despite playing an average of only a dozen games per season, she still holds top five records for both basketball and lacrosse at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School. Dara ranks among the top five in school history for basketball in the following categories: points per season, rebounds per season, steals per season, and total varsity points. Dara earned All-Met Girls Basketball honorable mentions her junior and senior seasons.
While she excelled at each sport, Dara received the most honors and awards on the lacrosse field. In 1991 she earned All-Met Honorable Mention, in 1992 she earned All-Met Girls Lacrosse First Team honors, and her senior year she was named the All-Met Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year. In both 1992 and 1993, she received All-American Honors. All of this came as no surprise though to Head Lacrosse Coach Kathy Jenkins, as she knew Dara was something special from the beginning. Coach Jenkins mentioned, “When I first had the opportunity to work with Dara, I knew she would be successful in whatever sports she decided to play. She was a natural athlete with extraordinary hand-eye coordination, game sense, mental toughness, and competitiveness; she was a leader.”
Dara led her lacrosse team in points with a career total of 276 points (227 goals and 49 assists), a record she held onto for 15 years. With Dara leading the team, the 1993 lacrosse team had a near-perfect season with a record of 14-1 and captured the ISL regular season championship.
Upon graduation Dara was awarded the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Athletic Council Silver Bowl Participation Award and Outstanding Athlete Award. She received the four-year Alexandria Third Century Corporation Scholarship for her academic and athletic abilities from the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club. At the University of Virginia, Dara lettered in women’s lacrosse. Dara continues to be involved in and support Saints athletics.