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Sep 11, 2018 11:57 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Isabelle Smith Is A Triple Threat For Westhampton Beach

Isabelle Smith is a premier three-sport athlete for Westhampton Beach who recently made the U.S. Lacrosse U19 women's lacrosse team. DREW BUDD
Sep 11, 2018 11:57 AM

When Mary Bergmann took over as head coach of the Westhampton Beach girls lacrosse program in 2014, Isabelle Smith was a tiny sixth-grader who helped the coaching staff by recording stats during games. The next season she was on varsity, beginning what could go down as the best career in program history.

Smith—known as Belle to friends and family—was the first ever All-American selection for Westhampton Beach after scoring 50 goals, tallying 27 assists, 41 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers. Entering her junior season, Smith is only five goals shy of the 200-career goal mark. Only one other Lady Hurricane player has achieve that feat—Smith’s older sister, Alexa, who just graduated from Monmouth University.

Among her many accomplishments, the Westhampton Beach resident was named by Inside Lacrosse magazine as the top junior midfielder in the country. Then, Smith was chosen out of more than 500 applicants as one of 110 players in the U.S. invited to try out for the 2019 U.S. Lacrosse women’s under-19 team. Tryouts were held in early August at the U.S. Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Maryland. The group included players from 16 states, with six players that just finished their freshman season of college lacrosse, 50 high school seniors, 34 high school juniors and 20 high school sophomores from the 2017-18 academic year.

Of the 110 that tried out for the team, Smith was one of the 36 named to the training team, which will travel around the country for the next few months. Over that time, Smith will have to miss some time with the numerous school teams she plays on to travel to a number of different places throughout the country, such as Maryland and California and in between, to compete with her new teammates and find out if she will be a part of the final 18-person roster that will play in the 2019 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women’s U19 World Championship held August 1 to 10, 2019, in Peterborough, Canada.

Making the U19 team, Smith said, was a longtime goal of hers.

“Being on the U19 team is obviously something I’ve dreamed about doing since I was a little kid, so to have it be a reality and to learn from that coaching staff and learn from the girls I’m playing with is really an awesome honor and cool opportunity,” she said.

“The tryout was insane,” Smith added. “It was probably the most talented kids I’ve ever played against. I think part of making that team was the girls I played against, and with, made me better at that tryout, which is what allowed me to stand out a little more.”

Bergmann, who has seen Smith grow within her program from the very beginning of her career, said the talented junior has, without a doubt, been a factor in how far the team has come. The Lady Hurricanes made their first ever county final appearance this past spring, and Smith’s time with the U19 team will only help further the team’s efforts in achieving its first ever county title.

“She is dedicated and driven to do well, and qualities like that rub off onto teammates,” Bergmann said. “When a player makes something like the U.S. training team, it without a doubt changes what little lacrosse players in our program think of their future. We hope that it shows them that if they set a goal and work towards it day in and day out that anything is possible.

“Belle is the first All-American here and the first player to make a team of this level, and because of her dedication and talent, she is laying down a path for more WHB lacrosse players to do the same in the future.”

Smith is more than just a lacrosse player. A President’s Honor Roll student for averaging a 94 or higher each quarter while taking AP courses, Smith is a standout three-sport athlete, playing both basketball and volleyball to go along with lacrosse. She’s a two-time All-County selection in basketball, averaging 16.5 points per game, six rebounds per game, six assists per game and four steals per game. Currently, Smith has 846 career points and should easily surpass the 1,000-career point milestone this winter, since she averages close to 350 points per season.

And in volleyball, she’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year for League VI, a two-time All-County selection and was named All-State last year. It was also last season that she shattered the school’s dig record and earned her 1,000th career dig.

“I always say to myself a break would be nice, but in reality, I couldn’t really picture not playing three [sports],” Smith said. “And I love all three of them so it’s hard to give up one, and I wouldn’t really want to. I love the moments from each sport.”

Two weeks prior to trying out for the U19 team, Smith went on a service trip to Tanzania through a program called Rustic Pathways. During her week there she was able to interact with the residents of the small community she was staying in. It was an eye-opening experience, she said.

“That was just an amazing experience all around. It’s something you really can’t describe fully,” she said. “The people there, you just learn so much from them. I went to help them but in reality they changed me. I never met a community as happy as that one, so to see that was really honestly life changing. It sounds so typical to say life changing but it really is.”

It’s not too often that a player verbally commits to a college before reaching high school, but at the end of her eighth-grade season, Smith committed to Boston College, where she is expected to attend in the fall of 2020. Having visited a number of colleges near and far, Smith knew early on in her selection process that BC was the school for her.

“It was one of the first schools I looked at. They were all different because I wanted to know what I liked in a school, but every time I stepped on a school, I started realizing I loved BC because I’d always compare it to BC,” she explained. “BC is a great academic school. The coaching staff is absolutely amazing. The girls there, the surrounding area ... when I walked on campus it felt like home to me and it had everything I saw in a school, not just the athletics or not just academics, but everything I wanted. When I first set foot on that campus it felt like home and what I was used and I just fell in love with the school.”

It helps that Boston College is an up-and-coming program itself, having just reached the National Championship against James Madison this past season. Acacia Walker, the Eagles head coach, said Smith is a huge part of the plan at BC and is building the future of the program around her and a number of other “super studs” who will be in her class. Walker said it doesn’t happen often that players commit to schools as early as Smith did, but she allowed it because she truly saw a fit.

“I got to know the family and Belle and I love her selflessness, her excitement, and she really is a perfect fit for the culture that we have built here,” she said. “As a player, she’s a very solid midfielder who loves to play defense, and on offense she’s really good at carrying the ball upfield quickly. She’s not just into scoring goals, she’s perfectly fine with assisting, and she’s really smart. From top to bottom, she’s a really strong player.”

Walker, and her assistant coach at BC, Kayla Treanor, both won gold medals while playing for the same U19 team that Smith just recently made. While Smith still has to prove herself to the coaching staff for the U.S. team, joining Walker and Treanor as gold medalists is certainly one of her many goals. Even for a student-athlete who has already accomplished so much, Smith strives for more.

“There’s always more to accomplish. Yes I made the team for U.S.A. but I haven’t gotten to Canada yet,” she said. “I want to be on that 18, I want to win—it’s weird to say this because not many people can—but I want to win a gold medal at World Games. Even with BC, I believe we can win national championships. It’s just crazy to think about, but there’s always more that you can accomplish. It’s just humbling to even have that opportunity to be able to achieve all of it.”

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