Sydney Nadal's passion for lacrosse began prior to middle school.
The 2020 Dublin Scioto graduate credits her older sister, Taylor, for her love of the sport. She was introduced to the game when Taylor, a 2018 Scioto graduate, played for Davis Middle School.
"Taylor really liked the (Davis) team and the coach (Rod Allen) and it was something different than what a lot of other people were doing, because it wasn't as popular at the time," Sydney said.
Two years later, Sydney began playing lacrosse at Davis, and then in 2018, she and Taylor would be teammates on the Scioto girls team.
"My sister has had a lot of opportunities to follow in my footsteps and she chose to follow me playing lacrosse," Taylor said. "She saw that I enjoyed it so much and she wanted to experience that as well."
Sydney, a defender, was set for her senior season with the Irish when spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. She's now focused on preparing to play for Otterbein.
Taylor, who also is a defender, had an abbreviated sophomore season with Baldwin Wallace this year before the NCAA halted spring sports because of the pandemic.
Otterbein and Baldwin Wallace are Ohio Athletic Conference rivals, meaning the Nadal sisters will face each other for the first time next spring. Their mother, Rachel, is designing a T-shirt that will represent both teams.
"We're really excited to play against each other because we've always been on the same team and we never really had that competition," Sydney said.
"I'm looking forward to playing against her," Taylor said. "I've already told her I'm going to kick her butt."
Sydney, who plans to major in athletic training with a minor in business in hopes of someday opening a physical therapy practice, played in the midfield and on attack her first three seasons with the Scioto program. She switched to defense this spring and developed into a solid leader, according to coach Sarah Zink.
"Sydney has worked so hard," Zink said. "My heart breaks for her because this was supposed to be her year. Sydney had to fight for any playing time she has worked for. She's a fighter and she wants to continuously get better. She always comes to the coaches to see what she can do to get better. Sydney can play any position on the field. ... Defense really seemed to click for her this year."
Zink, whose team went 14-4 to set the program record for wins in a season and reached a Division I, Region 3 semifinal before losing to Jerome 11-6 last year, credits Taylor for helping Sydney progress in the sport.
"They are very driven and they have a lot of heart," Zink said of the sisters. "They're the type of athletes that every coach wants to have on their team because they're coachable and they work hard. They have heart and compassion for their team. They're phenomenal people, great family. Sydney worked very hard in her freshman and sophomores years to gain a position. Taylor worked with Sydney to be able to make varsity (in 2018) because they wanted to be together in Taylor's last year."
Sydney also credits Zink and Allen for her development.
"Coach Zink pushed all the players no matter what skill level they were at," she said. "Whether you were at the top or the bottom, she would always try to push everybody to get better and did it in a fun way. She didn't beat her players down to the dirt to try to get them to do something. She made the sport fun.
"My middle school coach (Allen), since he came up to coach (Scioto), that was also disappointing not being able to play my senior year with him as I played my first season with him."