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Monday, June 17, 2024

Out of the 14 players that have gotten to start at least one game this season, Sydney DuPre is the only freshman among the pack, and she has started in all 13 of them.

DuPre plays primarily on defense along with Emily Dohony, Sam Farrell, Jamie Reeg and Kayla Stolins, all of whom are seniors.

“I've been able to look up to all the seniors on defense,” DuPre said, “And they've been able to guide me in multiple ways.”

Opponents average 5.77 goals per game against this defense, and DuPre is an important component to that success.

“She's fit in so well with us,” Farrell said. “If she doesn't understand something, she's not afraid to ask.”

Florida coach Amanda O’Leary has been impressed with DuPre and her willingness to step up into the starting defense, which was not something she expected her to play a crucial role in.

DuPre came to Florida as a midfielder and expected to play there when she arrived at Florida, but from day one in practice, Florida’s style of defense clicked with her.

“A lot of midfielders are mostly offensive-minded, and I think even in high school she was more defensive-minded,” Farrell said. “ It’s rare to like defense, and that's very similar to me.”

Farrell and Reeg came into Florida in their freshman season as midfielders until O’Leary needed them on defense for a game, and a game turned into the rest of their college careers.

O’Leary said she inserts the players where she needs them.

With the second-ranked defense in the country, O’Leary has been quite successful with that philosophy, and DuPre is no exception.

“To break into [a starting role] says a lot not just about her athletic ability and her lacrosse ability but the fact she gets along with all her teammates,” O’Leary said.

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Out of the nine field players that have started every game, excluding the goalkeeper, DuPre has the least amount of fouls with six.

The other senior starting defenders are in double digits, racking up 69 between the four of them.

O’Leary described DuPre’s style of play as under control. She focuses on not making any unnecessary check and doesn’t want the opposing players to get many free-position shots.

DuPre said the main reason to her is that as a freshman she doesn’t want to make too many mistakes around all the seniors.

“I take less risks than everyone else,” DuPre said. “I think I want to try to play more conservatively because I don't want to mess up.”

She realizes, though, that messing up is part of the learning process as a freshman.

“I know that if I mess up that they will have my back, always,” DuPre said. “That's pretty comforting knowing that.”

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