For Sydney Payne, her journey in lacrosse began when her sister started playing the sport with a family friend. Now a senior at Mater Dei High School, the four-year varsity standout is proud to be participating in an up-and-coming sport.
“I thought it would be a really great sport to try,” says Payne. “I love that it’s such a new sport. And it’s growing. Not many people know about it or know what it is. I can teach them about it.”
As a returning captain for the Monarchs, Payne is a key component of her team’s midfield. Her commitment to refining her skills has helped to bring back-to-back CIF-SS championships to Mater Dei in 2016 and 2017, as well as OC Register 2017 2nd Team All-County honors.
“Sydney’s contributions to the draw controls, turnovers on defense and composure in the attacking end have helped the team win possessions and control the tempo of the game,” says Mater Dei girls lacrosse head coach, Cressita Bowman.
Beyond her play on the field, Payne feels her job as a captain is to inspire, and according to Bowman, it’s a job she does well.
“Sydney has earned the nickname ‘Selfless Syd’ because she is the type of player that puts the team first,” says Bowman. “She is someone who exemplifies servant leadership on and off the field. From getting gear out at daily practices, to attending extra training sessions on her own outside of practice, to throwing one more pass in transition, Sydney is a team player whose dedication and determination will help set the tone for the group this year as they try to maintain their title.”
As Payne and her teammates work on defending that title, she is taking in all the moments of her final year as a Monarch, a “unique experience” that she is grateful to be a part of. The 18-year-old has verbally committed to continuing her lacrosse career with Arizona State University, having also been accepted into the school’s Honors College.
Away from the field and in her community, the Aliso Viejo resident loves to share her skills and knowledge in the sport with younger up-and-coming lacrosse players by volunteering her time to coach local youth teams.
Payne firmly believes in taking her God-given talents and using them the their fullest. And to see the origin of her work ethic, look no further than her parents, who have modeled what hard work looks like and how it can help her achieve her goals.
“My family is very important to me, and they’ve really shown me what it means to be a successful person in life,” says Payne. “They are [people] who’ve put their trust in me, and I can then put my trust in others with that.”