Sam Smith led the Boston College women’s soccer team in goals as a freshman.
Shortly after Boston College named Jason Lowe its next women’s soccer head coach in January, he took a trip to the South Shore to watch some of the program’s incoming players.
Sam Smith, a reigning All-American at Whitman-Hanson Regional High, was one of them.
“You could tell she was a pretty technical player, but mostly off the field, I would say one of the biggest personalities in the freshman group, so we kind of clicked right away,” Lowe said. “Really great kid and really into soccer and could tell we were going to get along really well.”
The Hanson native arrived on campus a few months later.
“She came right in and just from our initial fitness test, she’s probably one of our fittest players on the team — definitely one of our fittest freshmen, so she definitely made a good first impression in the early days of preseason,” Lowe said.
And a strong preseason helped the freshman earn a starting role on the Eagles. After netting the winning goal in the Eagles’ opener against UMass, Smith did the same in the second game as well. By BC’s fifth contest of the season, she had four goals, three of which were game-winners.
“She didn’t overthink it too much,” Lowe said. “She got the ball and was playing with her first touch, and then she just drove into the 18 and got good shots off and did a really good job keeping the ball alive and just sort of staying in the moment.”
That was just a part of her success.
“I’d do film with her, and she actually is really good at breaking down her game and watching film,” Lowe said. “When we come in to watch it, she has already watched it and broke it down herself and had her own opinions.
“Every Monday, on our free day, she is out with the other freshmen working on their game. A combination of both of those helped her get off to a good start and helped her stay in our starting lineup.”
Smith entered Atlantic Coast Conference play with five goals. Lowe said her non-conference success wasn’t a surprise to him, but he wanted to see if she could perform against ACC competition. She did.
Smith netted two goals against Florida State in the conference opener and another against Miami (FL) the following game.
“That surprised me when she was able to do it against some of the top 10 teams in the country,” he said. “Her header against Florida State was probably one of the most perfect goals we scored all year.”
But that’s where the goal scoring would end for Smith because, with each goal, she started to become even more of a focal point of the opposing team’s defense — to the point where teams double-teamed her.
“There’s no secrets in our conference,” Lowe said. “They watched the film and figured out. She is certainly no secret.”
But despite not scoring again, she still led the team with eight goals this season.
“It was definitely frustrating to hear the other team always say, ‘Double team No. 9,’” Smith said. “It can get to you. See, I don’t think eight goals is a lot, I want to score more.”
Additionally, Smith earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team and was tabbed to the 2019 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s All-Atlantic Region third team.
For as big as the goals Smith has garnered at BC were, bigger ones await.
“The sky’s the limit for her,” Lowe said. “I was talking with the U-20 [U.S. women’s national team] coach, and I think she is definitely on their radar in a really good pool of forwards and attackers.”
“That’s always been my goal,” Smith said.