College Commitment Countdown: Smyth to the 'Cats
by Ali Jones
, 6 November 2009
Blue Chip Lacey Smyth had numerous suitors vying for her commitment: Colorado, Pepperdine, San Diego and Washington. Ultimately, her heart went to Arizona.
"I chose Arizona [because of its] supportive coaching staff, the cohesiveness of the team, and the career opportunities available at the University," the third-ranked Californian said.
"The coaches have been on my side since the day they started recruiting me and I know that they will do the same when I am actually playing there," Lacey said. "There are no excuses for me not to improve under their guidance and support. I loved the campus, and I can definitely see myself fit in there."
She plans to major in psychology and learn skills that will help her after college.
"I want to be a college coach," she said. While she is a competitive person who loves the demands of a solitary sport such as tennis, she also loves belonging to a team. As a coach, she reasoned, she'd be able to shape, inspire and influence a group, something she's already been able to do at San Marcos High School.
When Lacey was a freshman, Coach Paul Hartman described her to the North County Times: "She takes a lot on her own shoulders and she never hesitates to give 100 percent. The girls (on the team) do look up to her because she's obviously given a lot of her young life to becoming as good as she can possibly become. She's a quiet leader."
Having seen her as a team member for the past three years, Hartman still holds his past assessment of Lacey to be accurate.
"She works harder than any player that I have seen in 15 years of coaching and she brings her solid work ethic to each match that she plays and her teammates have recognized her extraordinary willingness to work harder and to go the extra mile to improve her game," he said.
"Her strengths as an individual include her wonderful competitiveness," he said. "She battles for every point and she plays each point to the best of her ability. She absolutely refuses to give up or to give in at any stage of the match. As a teammate, she is very supportive of all of her teammates and she encourages them before, during and after the matches. She is very approachable and very willing to share her knowledge and understanding of the game with each of her teammates and this has made a huge difference."
Lacey's tennis and academic success - she's ranked 16th on TennisRecruiting.net's senior class - has been chronicled by the local San Diego papers for years and with good reason. She's a member of the National Honor Society and was on the Union-Tribune All-Academic First Team.