The hardware keeps coming for Keene State College field hockey player and junior Sami Smith.
Smith was able to net her highest honor of her career so far when she was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-America Third Team. According to keeneowls.com, Smith is the fourteenth All-American in Keene State field hockey history.
Smith is the field hockey program’s first player to win the honor since 2008 when Erin Dallas won the award. Smith said she was in shock that she won the award and was emotional about the achievement.
“Honestly my mom actually texted me and I did tear up a little bit because I was not expecting that,” Smith said. She added, “I was really happy, really excited about it as anyone would be.”
Smith was previously named an NFHCA All-Region award winner. Additionally, she was the Little East Conference (LEC) Offensive Player of the Year and was First Team All-Conference. The junior standout said she thought she would be honored by the LEC and receive nothing else.
“I did expect something from LEC because I have the past two years. The awards beyond that were good surprises,” Smith said. She has previously been named to the 2014 LEC All-Conference Second Team. In her first season as an Owl, she was LEC Rookie of the Year.
Keene State Field Hockey Head Coach Amy Watson commented on her All-American forward’s skills and her work ethic.
“She works hard all the time. That’s the biggest thing. I think that kind of pushes her beyond the average player,” Watson said.
As for Smith’s skills, Watson said she is very athletic and has “all around gifts.” However, Watson said her top skills are “her speed and hand-eye coordination, those two things combined really help her get the job done.”
Watson also said it is rewarding to coach a player like Smith. “When you are coaching somebody like Sami you are really trying to set up situations you want her to thrive in,” Watson said.
Senior Haylie Dolan said Smith is aggressive on the field.
“She never gives up, she goes after every ball even if she is probably going to get hurt,” Dolan said.
Smith describes herself on the field as a player with a will to win. “I’m definitely very competitive. I try to stay very positive though with my teammates,” Smith said.
Over her three-year career, Smith has scored 54 goals and is now tied for fifth in the record book. She is three goals away from moving into sole possession of fourth place. The Owls top scorer the last three seasons has a chance to be the all-time leading goal scorer before her career is complete. Smith is 16 goals away from tying Kay Mulcahy who has the record of 70, which has been the record since 1985.
Smith said having the chance to be the program’s leading scorer is “indescribable.” She continued, “It’s been the record for so many years. That would be an incredible way to go out for sure.”
Smith has set some high standards for herself next season. “I’m shooting for thirty goals, I think that would be a great way to end my career,” Smith said. She continued, “I think I definitely have to perform even better, which every year every athlete feels that way but especially this year after everything.”
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