Senior midfielder Natalie Smith is part of a St. Anthony’s team that has done nothing but rack up wins over past few years. After being part of championship winning teams with the Friars, she is looking to continue the success in college, when she makes her way up north to Syracuse to play for the Orange. Natalie is a multifaceted player on the offensive end of the field. She has the ability to put the ball in the net, and also facilitate to open teammates who are in position to score. As part of St. Anthony’s rich history of winning, one of her most memorable moments was beating rival Manhasset, a team that’s rivalry stems off the field as well for Natalie. Even though the remainder of the 2020 season is in doubt, Natalie is counting to put in the work to be the best version of herself and will go down as one of the great talents to come out of the Friars lacrosse program. Read more about Natalie as she talks about some of the people in her life who have helped her get to where she is today, and what she is most looking forward to when she gets to Syracuse in a recent interview with the LILJ.
Q: What were some of the factors that led you to deciding to play at Syracuse?
A: I decided to play at Syracuse for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons was the great academics, such as the Whitman School of Business, and the academic support provided to student athletes. Also, the athletics are amazing; from lacrosse to football to basketball, every team performs at such a high intensity. It was great to see the Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse Team being ranked 4th at the beginning of this season. The team is truly one big family and I can’t wait to be a part of it!
Q: What are some of the things you’ve been doing to stay active since there currently aren’t any games?
A: To stay active I have been working out everyday. I will either go for a run, do hill sprints, do some wall ball, or get in some shooting along with footwork. My sister who plays at UPenn has also been training with me and has shown me how hard and dedicated you have to be to play at the collegiate D1 level.
Q. With the possibility of the remainder of the season being cancelled, how disappointing is it?
A. I think every person who plays a high school sport dreams of their senior year- well at least I know I did! It’s hard to think that I may never put on a Friar uniform again, or that I will never have a senior day, or that I won’t have the chance to hold up that championship plaque at the end of the season. It’s very sad to see what is happening, but I know I am working harder than ever to get back on that field if there is any chance.
Q. Is there any particular memory that you’ve had at St. Anthony’s that stands out?
A: A memory I will never forget is when we defeated Manhasset last season. My rivalry with Manhasset is pretty deep rooted, they’ve been a top rival for every team I’ve been on since third grade. I also have cousins who live in Manhasset, so this game always determined bragging rights for that year. This was such a big moment because Manhasset was ranked number 2 in the nation and we had not defeated them in a long time. I remember our game against them my sophomore season did not go our way, so for us to come back and beat them was exhilarating. If this was the last time I got to compete against Manhasset, I’m grateful it ended in a win.
Q: Who are some of the people that have helped you get to where you are today?
A. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the help and support from my family, Dave Kotowski, Summer Ferraro, and Ashley Caligiuri. My parents have supported my lacrosse journey since day one. Whether it was being my feeder in the backyard or driving multiple hours to tournaments every weekend, I could not have done it without them. With having an older sister in the sport, it provided the opportunity to always compete with someone at a higher level. Coach Dave and Coach Summer have really helped me become the player I am today. They both pushed me to be the best version of myself both on and off the field. Coach Dave provided me with the opportunity to continue my career at a collegiate level and I will forever be grateful for that. Lastly, my coach Ashley Caliguiri saw my potential, even when it wasn’t obvious to me, and instilled confidence in me and my ability as a lacrosse player.
Q. What are you most looking forward to when you get to Syracuse?
A: One thing I look forward to is the lacrosse aspect. I can’t wait to compete every day with such a talented team and work towards a communal goal of a national championship. Their competitive schedule is what drew me to this lacrosse program and, therefore, I look forward to representing the Orange in the ACC. In addition to athletics, I was accepted into the Whitman School of Business, so I am very excited to begin my future in business. I look forward to becoming a Freshman and creating memories that will last forever!