On a lineup full of returning players for the No. 3 Gators lacrosse team, one name stands out every time.
Cara Trombetta — freshman.
For Florida, it’s not rare for freshmen to make an impact right away. Last year, then-freshmen attacker Lindsey Ronbeck and midfielder Sydney Pirreca finished within the team’s top five in goals.
However, Trombetta is the only freshman to start for the Gators this season.
On defense, she will try to fill the role Sydney DuPre left behind due to graduation, playing with two seniors in Caroline Fitzgerald and Taylor Bresnahan.
“She’s doing great. She fit right in from day one, and she has so much confidence,” Fitzgerald said. “And we have confidence in her. We know she is going to stop her offensive player, her attacker. We help her whenever it’s needed, but she hardly ever needs it.”
In her first game, Trombetta proved that.
As part of a defensive unit that let up 13 goals to No. 1 UNC, Trombetta showed her reliability in coverage, scooping up three ground balls and causing one turnover.
And with the addition of the shot clock, the defense will need to hold its own for 90 seconds, trying to keep its opponent from shooting the ball. Reliability becomes more important on a defensive unit, as everyone needs to be in sync and know their roles.
But this is to be expected from the Holbrook, New York, native that led the Gators’ freshman class as the nation’s No. 11 ranked recruit, according Inside Lacrosse.
Trombetta was also a 2015 Under Armour All-American and a Lacrosse Magazine All-Tournament Team member at the 2013 US Lacrosse Girls U15 National Tournament.
Her productivity on defensive will be tested again and again as the Gators continue their difficult non-conference schedule.
Their next test: No. 4 Southern California.
The Trojans are coming off of a season opening 20-2 win over St. Mary’s. Florida will be playing its second straight top-five team and just beat the Scotland National Team, 27-1, in an exhibition game.
“I’m not necessarily sure it puts added pressure on them. I think it kind of brings them back to reality,” coach Amanda O’Leary said of the UNC game. “I think we just need to get back to the basics.”