When Kristen Smith was an inexperienced freshman trying to make an impression on her teammates, she got locked under the Schoellkopf Field bleachers while searching for lost lacrosse balls. Just what she needed.
“My whole team left and I had to yell for the football coach to let me out,” Smith explained. “No one even noticed. It was sort of sad, but it was funny in retrospect.”
After scoring 20 goals this season in only nine games, opponents have started to wish the junior was still stuck under the stands. While there are certain players who are experienced leaders and others who are scorers, Smith is a rarity: she fills both roles. Without a doubt, Smith is the best finisher on the team, and she has created an awesome balance for sophomore assist-expert Allison Schindler. While Schindler has one goal for every four assists, Smith has 20 goals for every one assist. The numbers speak for themselves.
But Smith is not satisfied to just be a finisher on a team of very talented players. Describing her competitiveness at all facets of the game as intense is an understatement.
“Every time I do a drill or play in practice, I try to think that I want to do whatever I am doing better than any other player on the field,” Smith said. “I like to pick players on my team that I know have specific strengths which might be my weaknesses and compete with them to get better. I also hope to motivate my teammates to compete with me.”
“If someone beats me at something it really fires me up to keep doing it again and again until I win,” she continued.
“It is sometimes difficult because I struggle between being frustrated with our record [and] also [being] very excited about the huge improvements that I can see,” Smith said. “We are on the right track but need to keep working hard to begin winning games and putting everything together for 60 minutes.”
The youthful Red is battling back from losing several key seniors last year, including Sarah Averson and Sarah Fischer. Their absence contributed to the Red’s rough start, but the team’s play has improved with each game this year. Most recently, the laxers kept their contest against defending national champion Princeton tight, and they recently dropped a one-goal heartbreaker, 7-6, to talented No.12 Dartmouth. Through hard work and determination, players like Smith are helping fill the leadership spots left empty by last year’s seniors and are getting the team up to speed as it heads down the season’s home stretch.
“I try to come out everyday and work as hard as I can,” Smith explained. “I absolutely love playing sports and competing in general, and feel incredibly lucky to be able to play lacrosse at Cornell.”
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer