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Northwestern's Smith sisters form key drawing circle duo

Northwestern's Smith sisters form key drawing circle duo

 


CARY, N.C. –– Facing Florida draw specialist Liz Harrison, who had 228 draw controls before Friday's clash with Northwestern, junior midfielder Samantha Smith stepped into the circle as Friday's semifinal match began.

Smith prevailed, winning eight draws to Harrison's two, as the Wildcats (18-2, 5-1 Big Ten) topped the Gators (20-3, 6-0 AAC) 15-11, punching their ticket for the NCAA title game. .

Just a few feet from the drawing circle was Smith's sister, Madison, who played significant minutes as a freshman for NU.

Madison Smith, a defender, was called “competitive, like her sister” by NU coach Kelly Amonte Hiller throughout the season.

This season marks the first time the two Smiths, affectionately nicknamed the “Smithsters” by graduate student forward Erin Coykendall, have played organized lacrosse together.

Madison and Samantha Smith (right) run off the field together during a game earlier this season.

“It’s everything you dream of,” Samantha Smith said of being able to play with her sister. “You grow up in your backyard playing lacrosse, you watch nationals together…being able to be with her while we play at this stage is so amazing. »

Even though both Smiths were present and playing lacrosse Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Calif., they couldn't take the field at the same time. During Samantha Smith's freshman year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and then Madison Smith was injured during her sophomore year, so the two never overlapped.

The pandemic brought the two closer together. Confined to their backyard, the two practiced their lacrosse skills daily, creating a lifelong bond.

“She’s my best friend,” Madison Smith said of her sister. “Northwestern is an amazing school and I was like, 'Yeah, I have to go with her. »

Once Samantha Smith arrived at NU, she passed on the knowledge she learned from coach Kelly Amonte Hiller to her younger brother. Now, with both Smiths in Evanston, the two can restart their backyard workout routine.

“We are both learning from each other every day and getting better at the draw,” Samantha Smith said.

“And we’re also very competitive with each other,” added Madison Smith. “So it’s very game-like because we both want the ball so much. It really makes us better.

Against Maryland on April 6, both Smiths appeared on the stat sheet. Samantha Smith recovered three balls and Madison Smith had two controls. Their father, Mike Smith, said one of his favorite moments this season was when the two connected in the toss circle.

“Their relentlessness is pretty fun to watch,” Mike Smith said. “When you combine all of that into one piece, it’s like two dogs chasing a Frisbee. It's fun to watch them with that kind of effort.

Before each game, during the designated warm-up period, the Smith sisters line up in a makeshift drawing circle to prepare for the first check. Samantha Smith wins the first toss in every match. Against Boston College tomorrow, winning the toss will be a crucial task.

Mike Smith says he sends both a succinct message before every game: “Show them.”

“It’s just about building their motivation and confidence,” Mike Smith said. “The only thing that bothers them is just their self-confidence.”

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @HenryFrieman

Related stories:

Lacrosse: 'You're more than just an athlete': Argentieri and Johnson raise mental health awareness among student-athletes

Lacrosse: Northwestern No. 1 Lindsey Frank 'cherishes every moment' ahead of national title game

Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwest fends off Florida 15-11 to advance to second straight national title game

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