By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the Penn State Women's Lacrosse season in full swing, senior goalkeeper Emi Smith is fully focused on playing her best in her last season with the team. With it being her last season, however, she also has to put some focus on her future after Penn State.
Smith recently spoke about her plans after graduation and said she was not quite ready to give up the game of lacrosse just yet.
"I don't think I can just give it up cold turkey, just because it's been a part of my life since fourth grade," said Smith. "After graduation, I want to go into coaching. I'm going to go back to Colorado this summer and hope to do an internship with my club team as a goalie coach."
This internship will serve as a start for Smith's career in coaching, as she hopes to eventually coach on the Division I level.
Smith also hopes to use her Penn State education to help her in her coaching endeavors. This spring Smith will be receiving a degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS), which she believes can help her to bring something new to the coaching profession.
"I chose my major because you have to be a people person and it involves problem-solving and I'm good at that," said Smith. "I also worked a lot in the counseling field and through my experiences and the counseling part of my major I want to try and expand the coaching horizons."
Smith hopes to be more than just a coach to her players. She wants to be a person that her athletes can feel comfortable talking to. Smith believes that mentality has a huge impact on game play and she thinks that her schooling experience has prepared her to help players with that.
As a senior Smith has to think a lot about the future, but she did talk a little about her past and how she started off in the position of being a goalkeeper.
"On club teams, the coaches usually switched all of the players around and everybody would have to take turns playing goalie. But when I was in fourth grade I could clear the ball halfway down the field, so my coach just stuck me in that position for the entire season," said Smith.
She clearly liked being goalie since she has stuck with it ever since, but she also attributed her life at home to preparing her for the position.
"My brothers helped to make me super tough. They used to suit me up and play football with me in the front yard, which helped to toughen me up which is important as a goalkeeper," said Smith.
As a goalie Smith has a unique job when it comes to the success of the game. While she isn't running up and down the field the entire game, that does not mean that her job is not exhausting.
"As a goalkeeper you have to stay mentally tuned in during the whole game and focus all sixty minutes of the game, which can get physically and mentally exhausting," she said. "I can be as physically fit as all of the other players and have the same stick skills, but if I'm not there mentally I won't be as successful in the game."
Smith has seen success this season, as she has helped lead Penn State to a No. 8 national ranking and 3-1 record. She says that this success all has to do with the team as a whole as how well they have learned to work together.
"We work really well together and it is never a one-person game, we are always working as a unit," said Smith. "We choose to use each other to make our team better, which is really important."
Smith also said that the freshman players have been a huge addition to the team this year.
"We don't see them as freshman, we see them as our teammates and they are all incredible players. They are all fantastic players and they add so more personality and skill to our team," said Smith.
With it being her last season, Smith had a lot of memories to reflect back on over the past four years with the team. She said that a few of her funniest memories have come from scoring on herself, which her teammates always make fun of her for.
Smith is excited to see what the rest of this season has in store and hopes to make some more memories in her last season.
The Nittany Lions' next game is this Saturday, March 5 starting at 3 p.m. against Loyola University.