Smith steps up in light of crucial late season

Max VadakinContributor

In a season filled with injuries, senior forward Allie Smith is stepping up for her team, setting new career highs and helping her team secure victories.

Though the team has seen many of their players go down throughout the year, Smith believes that the team is learning to cope with their adversity.

“I think we’re working it out. I think each of us really stepped up and accepted our new responsibilities,” said Smith.

For Smith, one of these responsibilities has been her increased role in her team’s offensive system; breaking her own career high in points three times throughout the season while raising her average from 1.4 points per game the previous year to 6.3 points per game this season.

Head Coach Kate Lynch attributes Smith’s breakout performances to her phenomenal work ethic.

“That’s just Allie. She’s one of our hardest workers. She’s here before practice shooting and she’ll be the last one to leave,” said Lynch. “I remember telling [the team] about 2 years ago that you need to work on your range. Allie came in the next summer and she was knocking down 35 footers.”

Senior forward Erin Ryder has come to expect these exceptional performances from Smith, especially as the season starts to grind towards its end.

“Same things we’ve been expecting from her, big games on the offensive side, but also on the defensive side doing whatever coach needs her to do for us to be able to win,” said Ryder.

While Smith remains confident in her newfound role on the team, she says the transition and progression hasn’t necessarily been an easy one.

“It’s definitely changed a lot. Now I’ve had to step up as a scorer and back up all our other players,” said Smith. “The previous three years I had been coming off the bench doing the little things defensively, not really having to worry about the offensive end.”

However, Smith is no stranger to hard work. The senior biology major is a double athlete, playing on the Southern women’s soccer team as well.

“It’s a lot of time management,” said Smith. “But nothing too crazy, both the coaching staffs are really good about it.”

Coaching staffs are noticing the hard work and dedication Smith has been putting in as well.

“She was probably one on the quiet side when she first came in, but she’s had some good leaders that have come before her that she’s looked up to,” said Lynch. “As soon as her senior year started, she was always that person to take that step up and lead by example. She’s grown in a lot of ways, but most importantly she’s a great teammate and a great young lady.”

Smith’s emergence as a leader has been felt by coaching staffs and teammates alike.

“She’ll get on you when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to, she’ll say good job when you’re doing a good job,” said Ryder. “She’ll make sure you’re doing what you have to do to be the best this team can be.”

Smith is looking to take her intensity and leadership forward with her through her graduation and beyond. She plans to come back for graduate school and continue to play soccer for a fifth collegiate year.

All in all, Lynch only had one way to describe Smith’s stay here at Southern.

“She’s killing it,” said Lynch.

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