Sophomore midfielder Nora Barry may not put up gaudy numbers, but she is what coach Amanda O’Leary wants each of her players to be — consistent.
"Nora’s not going to be your flashy player," O’Leary said. "She’s going to be somebody that’s going to do the dirty work."
The reigning American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year has had a quiet yet successful season thus far.
Barry helped propel the second-ranked Gators to their ninth win of the season by scoring three goals on three shots during Florida’s 14-9 win against then-No. 13 Dartmouth on Saturday. She has scored 11 goals on 14 shots this season for a team-best 78.6 shot percentage. The Gators’ average as a team is less than 50 percent.
"She’s going to take those opportunities that are afforded to her and make the most out of them," O’Leary said. "She’s not going to shoot to shoot. She’s going to shoot to score."
Barry has recorded at least one point in the Gators’ last eight matches and looks to extend that streak when Florida (9-0) takes on Lehigh (2-3, 0-1) tonight at 6:30.
She has tallied at least one point in 27 of her 31 games played in her career.
O’Leary described playing the midfield as doing the dirty work for the team. That dirty work shows up in the statistical columns as groundballs and draw controls.
Barry is tied for second on the team in groundballs with 14 and third in draw controls with 20. She was asked to step up in Saturday’s game in the draw when senior Brittany Dashiell was sidelined with a concussion. Barry answered the call, collecting four draw controls to lead the team.
Barry said playing in midfield requires her to be versatile enough to grab groundballs, snag draw controls and score on offense while helping defensively as well.
The 5-foot-4 sophomore uses her speed to help make up for her lack of size while defending.
"I use quickness to defend people who are taller," Barry said. "If I can stay in front of them, even if they are taller, they can’t shoot through me, so I use quickness to my advantage."
Barry has forced opponents to turn the ball over eight times this season. She is second on the team behind senior defender Sam Farrell, who has 11 forced turnovers.
"She is small, but she is tenacious," O’Leary said. "She is strong for her size, so we have no problem putting her against teams’ better players."
With a team that can go from a 10-1 run in 23 minutes against Dartmouth to a 25-minute scoreless lull in a 5-3 win against UNC, O’Leary hopes UF improves its consistency.
And that’s what Barry has to offer.
"I’m not really sure where we would be without Nora," O’Leary said. "That’s how critical she is to our program."
Sophomore midfielder Nora Barry runs past Stony Brook’s Amber Kupres during the Gators’ 16-9 win on Feb. 20 at Dizney Stadium. Barry scored three goals in Florida's 22-1 win against Stetson on Tuesday.