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Aug 13, 2019 2:48 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Isabelle Smith, U.S. U19 Team Wins Gold At 2019 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship

Isabelle Smith was the top midfielder for the U.S. U19 women's lacrosse team.
Aug 17, 2019 10:15 PM

It’s a rare feat for any athlete to represent their country. It’s even more rare to win a gold medal while doing it.Isabelle Smith, entering her senior year at Westhampton Beach High School next month, has done both.

The two-time All-American helped lead the United States under-19 team to a dominant finish at the World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship by defeating host and defending champion Canada, 13-3, in Peterborough, Ontario, on Saturday.

The U.S. ran through each one of its opponents in what was a lengthy 10-day event. Pool play began on August 2, when the Americans defeated Australia, 12-4, then proceeded to defeat England (18-2) and Canada (13-5), leading to a top-seed in tournament play. The U.S. defeated Hong Kong, 25-0, in the first round of the playoffs on August 6, then annihilated Wales, 26-0, in the quarterfinals the very next day. The U.S. defeated Australia, 21-6, on Thursday, August 8, advancing them to the championship game against Canada.

It’s the fifth world title for the U.S. U19 women, and the squad has won four out of the past five tournaments. Smith, who was joined on the team by Eastport/South Manor’s Kasey Choma, was ecstatic to bring a gold medal back home to Westhampton Beach.

“The best feeling in the world,” she said. “To represent the country and to bring gold back to the U.S. is indescribable.

“[It] was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There is nothing that compares. It was awesome,” Smith added.

Canada had upset the U.S. in the gold medal game in Scotland back in 2015, and it was looking to do the same this year. After the first few minutes of the game, it looked as if it was going to be able to do it again, but Leah Holmes scored on a free position shot to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead over eight minutes into the game. Izzy Scane and Ellen Hansen scored at the end of the first quarter to give the Americans a 3-0 lead. After Canada netted two goals in the opening minutes of the second, the U.S. clamped down on defense, not allowing a goal for more than 38 minutes of game time. The U.S. led, 7-2, at halftime, and a trio of goals by Holmes, Smith and Elizabeth Hillman put things out of reach for the Canadians.

Smith finished with 19 goals and five assists for 24 points, which ranked her fourth on the team in scoring. She was the top midfielder for the U.S., and midfielders only played half a game due to all of the running they did. Smith played both sides, offense and defense, while she was in the game.

It was the largest field ever for a World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship, featuring 22 teams, including nine that were competing for the first time ever.

“What I loved was that there were so many different people from so many different countries, yet we all came together with a common love for the game,” Smith said. “What I also loved is that my team itself had many girls of different ages, and we all live across the country, yet we became a family in such a short amount of time.”

Smith will now turn her attention to her final year in high school, where she and the three teams she plays on — volleyball, basketball, lacrosse — are all expected to vie for county titles. She hopes to bring what she’s learned from her experience back to those teams in Westhampton Beach.

“In order to succeed in accomplishing a goal, you must love what you do,” she said. “When you are enjoying yourself, it causes you to push yourself to accomplish more than you ever thought you would. And by surrounding yourself with people who also love what they do, and people who have a common goal, all the excitement and hard work becomes emphasized. It enables you to accomplish great things and have the time of your life while doing so.”

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