Jan. 31, 2014
Sophomore, Attack, 5-7
Vero Beach, Fla.
In seven days, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team begins the 2014 season on Feb. 7 at Kennesaw State. To get ready for the 19th season in program history, vucommodores.com will spotlight all 29 players and coaches Cathy Swezey, Susan Ellis and Julie Gardner. This segment will offer an inside look into the team on and off the field.
Today, Mackenzie Smith, who wears jersey No. 7, continues our countdown. A sophomore from Vero Beach, Fla., she played in three games last year and scored on her only shot of the season. She missed most of the season after suffering two stress fractures in her shin. Both of her parents were collegiate athletes as her mother, Tracey, swam at Loyola (Md.) University and her father, Bradford, played soccer at the University of Colorado.
Despite her Florida roots, she had crossed paths with some of her future Vanderbilt teammates, playing on a HLA Lacrosse Foundation national tournament team with Ashlin Dolan and Annie Vreeland. She was named to the SEC's First-Year Academic Honor Roll and created her own major, entertainment, communications and management. She currently works for VU Sports Wired for Vanderbilt Television, helping out with broadcasting along with assisting with cameras, lighting and compiling TV packages.
You getting excited to get the season going?
I'm really excited for it. I think we're really going to surprise some people this year. It feels so great playing with the team. It is so fun. We're all really connected. It is going pretty well right now. I actually got hurt the other day and I was just watching on the sideline during a scrimmage and it was absolutely awesome. Everyone looked really good. Everyone comes out every day and works really hard. I don't even think we've had a big off day and I think we're all definitely ready to get on the field and start playing.
What is different about this year's team?
There is just a flow that I felt was maybe missing last year. Our senior class does just an absolutely incredible job leading the team. We are always finding ways to get better. There is a lot of people that are holding each other accountable and responsible. Not only do we want to get better but our teammates are also helping us do the same thing.
How has your role changed this year?
Last season I was out for three quarters of the season...Coming in this year I've been a lot more confident and I really like to play behind the lacrosse. I've been trying to filter in when I can. We have people on our offense that can pretty much play anywhere and everywhere and get the job done.
How big is lacrosse in Florida?
My high school (Vero Beach) in particular happens to be good (winning four state championships while she was there and eying a 10th straight this year). We were top 10 in the nation all four years I was there. We did a lot of traveling and playing other teams. We actually played (sophomore) Mallory (Schonk's) team, McDonogh, which was so good. They came down to our school and we played them in Florida.
You haven't had any difficulty adjusting with all your teammates from the Northeast?
Personally, competition wise, playing lacrosse I wasn't used to such intense competition like this team. But once you get in the team is really welcoming and they help you out all the time. In Florida, I was always used to being one of the really stronger players. At the same time, it was really cool to come in and be surrounded by so many really great players.
Age I picked up a lacrosse stick: Probably when I was around 5
When I was a kid I tried to be like: My mom, dad and a princess all at the same time
A few words that describe the way I play lacrosse: Very mentally active and constantly a threat; can see and analyze plays developing
What I need to improve on to be a better player: Mastering the crease and 1 v. 1 threat
The thing that impresses me most about Coach Swezey: Her ability to connect with me as a player
Favorite part about playing at Vanderbilt: The overall atmosphere of being an athlete here
Favorite sport other than lacrosse: Football
Favorite musical performer: Coldplay, Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley
Favorite movie: Hunger Games
Nobody can believe I watch this TV show: Vampire Diaries
Favorite midnight snack: Cookie dough
Favorite thing about myself: Ability to make myself laugh
Worst habit: Getting sidetracked
Dream Date: Picnic on the beach
The best tasting food I can make: Tons of things - I love to cook!
My bucket list includes: Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
Favorite athlete to watch in another sport: Johnny Manziel
Talent I’d most like to have: Ability to transport
Other interesting facts about yourself: Life-changing experience - My first Division I practice in the absolutely freezing cold snow, sleet/ and rain and I thought I was on the verge of death. Jake Owen is from my town and I’ve had lunch with him, love to be at the beach and on any type of body of water
Favorite thing to do away from lacrosse: Spend time on the beach/in the ocean
I’m as good as anyone at: Getting out of awkward situations
One thing my hometown is famous for: The beach
My best non-athletic talent: Playing guitar
The person I’d love to trade places with for a day: Ellen DeGeneres
What I would do if I won the lottery: Travel the world
Ultimate vacation destination: Tahiti
The person I admire most: Muhammad Ali
Career goal: Win ALC or national championship with my team
The best advice I’ve received: Do it because you love it, life is too short to worry about the little things –my dad
The most famous person I’ve met: Taylor Swift
Biggest influence in my life: My parents and teammates
Most important thing I’ve learned since coming to Vanderbilt: There is a lot that life has to offer
My advice to young people is: Never give up and always work hard for what you want