A Lombard, Illinois, native and graduate of Willowbrook High School, McCarthy came to the College in 2006 after helping lead Team Illinois to a state championship.
McCarthy played for the Foresters from 2006-08 and became the program's career leader in save percentage and goals against average. She recorded two of the highest single-game save totals in team history late in the 2006-07 season and ranked seventh in the nation in save percentage that year.
In the fall of 2008, McCarthy was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, an extremely aggressive form of cancer. A fierce competitor, she was forced to stop playing and withdraw from school due to her illness, but she could often be seen cheering on her fellow Foresters.
McCarthy lost her battle with cancer on July 28, 2009. An award in her name and honor was established a few months later and is given annually to the player, selected by her teammates, who best displays spirit, determination, dedication, and love for the game of hockey – the special qualities of the player for whom the award was named - "Ry" McCarthy.