June 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The leader in both caused turnovers and ground balls for unquestionably the nation's top lacrosse conference, Notre Dame's Margaret Smith has been comparably honored nationally by Inside Lacrosse magazine as she was named ILWomen's Co-Defender of the Year.
Smith shared the honor with a fellow ACC student-athlete in Maryland's Megan Douty.
Previously named a first-team All-American by the IWLCA, Smith was the lone regular senior starter for the Irish in 2014, leading a young team as a captain against the nation's third-toughest schedule. The Irish showed great development over the 2014 season, defeating eventual NCAA semifinalist Northwestern and earning a top-eight national seed for the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to leading the ACC, Smith finished amongst the national leaders in those afore-mentioned key defensive statistical categories, ranking seventh in ground balls (64, 3.37 per game) and ninth in caused turnovers (43, 2.26 per game).
Smith's 64 ground balls this year broke Holly Manthei's school record of 63 set in 1998. She also set the school's career caused turnover record with 122, eclipsing Jackie Doherty's 117 from 2008-11. In an area that became particularly crucial after losing 2013 first-team All-American Barbara Sullivan to injury early on this spring, Smith led Notre Dame with her 47 draw controls in 2014.
Smith's play was especially strong in big games as she caused a total of 21 turnovers in Notre Dame's seven elite ACC league games. Her next closest competitor, Tewaraaton Trophy winner Taylor Cummings of Maryland, only caused 10 in conference play. Smith's dominating performances continued into the postseason. Facing No. 9 Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Smith had five caused turnovers, five ground balls and four draw controls.
Next up for Smith is a spot in the IWLCA's annual North-South All Star Game on Saturday is suburban Philadelphia, followed by tryout for the 2014-15 U.S. National Team next weekend in Washington, D.C. Smith will be joined in the national team's tryout pool by her Notre Dame teammate, Cortney Fortunato