The Stonehill Skyhawks are one of the hottest teams in DII field hockey. They have won ten games in a row, and find themselves climbing the rankings on a weekly basis.
Kacie Smith has scored a goal in every one of those wins. Many goals, actually.
Smith is no stranger to the spotlight. She was the Northeast-10 and East Region Player of the Year as a sophomore, ending the year a no-brainer pick for All-American. Smith scored a career-high 22 goals, while adding five assists.
How does one follow up a such a strong season, you ask? With one of record-setting proportions of course.
The junior currenty leads Division II field hockey in both goals (34) and assists (17). Her 5.66 points per game are a whole point higher than any other student-athlete at any other level of NCAA field hockey. She is simply the biggest offensive weapon across any level of NCAA field hockey, and the numbers aren't very close.
"Coming off of last season I think I have gained more confidence and have become more of a leader on the field which has led me to the amount of points I have so far," Smith said. "As for the assists, since I have been heavily marked this year it has allowed my teammates to be open and have the opportunity for them to score goals. When I get the ball, I have been looking for my teammates more because I know someone will be open."
Smith's recent run has been simply remarkable. After her October 18 three-goal performance in a 4-2 win over Merrimack (the Skyhawks last lost incidentally), she has scored in 13 straight games, recording a hat trick in eight of those.
"I try not to think about it too much," Smith said. "When my teammates get the ball, my main focus is to find open space so they can give me the ball and I can get a shot off. This year I have been able to score early in games and that has given me the motivation to score more and get more touches on the ball."
The forward continues to set new program records seemingly every game. Smith most recently set the program mark for both assists and total points in a single season with three regular season games remaining. It's bigger than that, however. Smith recorded her 85th point of the season in the Skyhawks' latest victory, breaking the NE-10 record for points in a season. Those 85 points are the third-highest in DII history, while she is just six off the record of 40 goals in a single season.
"I do realize that I am close to tying the record, but getting to the postseason and making a run is definitely more important," Smith said. "This year I feel like we have a special group and have what it takes to go all the way."
That's an impressive statement. Last year's squad went 14-6, but the season didn't end the way they had hoped. The Skyhawks were outsed early in the NE-10 tournament by LIU Post before getting bounced from the NCAA postseason in the first round.
"Yes, last year’s early playoff loss was tough to swallow for everyone on our team," Smith said. "However, this year starting in preseason we put last year behind us and put our main focus on winning a championship. This year being a junior and senior-heavy team our leadership, I believe, is what has made us successful. Everyone is on board from the coaches down to the players and have improved in all aspects of the game."
Three regualr season games left. While Smith stands on the verge of one of the most historic seasons in the history of DII field hockey, she makes it perfectly clear that without a national championship it is all for naught. So what makes Smith one of the most prolific scorers in the history of DII? Let's find out.
Favorite Sports movie: Miracle. It shows that anyone can beat anyone on any given day and that’s a motto I believe in.
Favorite Sports Team: Boston Bruins. I have grown up watching them play and my whole family supports them as well.
An athlete that has served as a role model: Tom Brady, because of his competitive level and winning tradition.
What's in your headphones pregame? Country music. It has been a pregame ritual for many years now.
Pre game snack: Cereal and a banana.
Superstitions: Same hair style. I believe it gives me good luck and would never change it.
Favorite cartoon: SpongeBob. It has been one of my favorite cartoons since I was a little kid.
Something my teammates don’t know about me: I was a big soccer player before I played field hockey.
Best part of being a Skyhawk: Getting a chance to play the sport I love with my best friends.