KSC field hockey player Sami Smith now has four school records under her belt. The records are career-based and individual for points and goals.
On Oct. 15, Smith scored a hat trick in a game against UMass Dartmouth to mark her third record of the year. This time, it is the single season goal-scoring record. Earlier in the season, Smith broke the all-time goal scoring record and the all-time points scoring record for Keene State. Smith said that the records weren’t on her mind during game time, but her peers had a different plan.
“My mom constantly talks about it. My teammates, my coaches [and] everyone else knows about it, so they’re gonna make sure it’s in my head anyways,” said Smith.
Even though the records were on her mind, Smith and field hockey Coach Amy Watson said that it didn’t affect how she played. Watson has been Smith’s head coach for her four years on the team and has seen her grow from her first year on the team until now.
“As a player, Sami’s grown a lot over the years,” said Coach Watson. “Her biggest asset is her speed and as a [first-year], she was successful because of her speed. Through the years, she’s been able to develop her game, just do more technical things to go along with her speed which really helped.”
Smith’s sister Casi has been playing with her since she was in seventh grade. From passing the ball around the backyard with mom, to playing on the same team again in college, Casi has seen a lot of improvements in her sister’s performance on the field.
“It’s just incredible,” said Casi. “You think every time she’s just good, but she’s five times better than the year before.” Not only have her sister, teammates and coaches seen improvement leading to the record, but Smith has also seen it within herself. She also credits her efforts to the overall improvements of the team.
“I started off with only 13 goals my [first] year,” said Smith. “It’s really cool to see improvements not only among myself, but just among my teammates because without them, I’m not going to be able to get the ball. They’ve improved so much, which has been the cause of all of this.” Casi Smith has a big sense of pride and happiness for her sister in the records she broke, saying how not a lot of people believed in her and her sister in the sport.
“[The] biggest, proudest moment for me is knowing that our high school coaches didn’t really believe in her,” said Casi. “They didn’t think there was much to her, and seeing now everything she’s been doing is kind of like a big smile.”
Coach Watson has a bigger sense of pride for Smith when it comes to breaking the record. She was head coach for the team when Tania Strong broke the record in 2003. However, the feeling of accomplishment is still there.
“I was always proud of Tania for having that goal, for having that record for as long as she had it,” said Coach Watson. “It’s sort of bittersweet when one of your own players breaks the record of another player.” Smith credits her accomplishments to her teammates, saying that without them, she wasn’t able to reach these goals. Besides her records, she has been focused on bringing the team to reach theirs, which Sami says has been accomplished.
“All of our goals as a team have been completed this year so far,” said Sami.
“Now is to go win L[ittle] E[ast] C[hampionship].”
“She comes to practice every day ready to work,” said Coach Watson. “She’s a hard worker [and] she gives it everything she’s got when she’s on the field, in games and in practice. She’s tenacious, she doesn’t let up. You get a player like that and they’re gonna break records.”
Justin Mahan can be contacted at JMahan@kscequinox.com
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