Audrey Smith’s hat trick delivers state crown for Fort Zumwalt South

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Audrey Smith (Photo Courtesy of Sydney Truscott)

33, 34, 35 — they’re just numbers, Audrey Smith says.

On Saturday, the Fort Zumwalt South (Mo.) soccer standout etched them into the record books, finishing with the most goals in program history at 35. Smith notched a hat trick and marched the Bulldogs to a 5-3 state championship victory, earning JWS Player of the Week honors along the way.

In the Class 3 state championship against Glendale, Smith struck first. In the 15th minute, the sophomore forward netted goal No. 33 on a long pass from goalkeeper Sarah Bozeman. She turned her body at the right moment, and with an explosive first step, she took off. Around 15 yards out, she shot the ball in the lower left corner.

“She has a fantastic touch on the ball,” Fort Zumwalt South coach Leanne Sanders said. “She can not only score goals, but she creates a lot of goal-scoring opportunities. She’s really crafty on the ball. Nothing she does is overly complicated.”

Smith’s stats in this year’s championship are identical to last year’s, with three goals and one assist. She’s proud of her accomplishments but says she can’t do it without her teammates.

“Everyone’s on our backs. And now we’re the champions again,” Smith said.

For Smith, mentality is key to maintaining a calm composure. Before each game, Smith repeats a phrase: The only pressure you have is the one you put on yourself.

She’s also one for superstition. She’s got three lucky ponytails she wears the day before. On game day, she puts her cleats on before her shin guards. It goes right foot, then left foot. And sometime before kickoff, she’s got to do her signature handshakes with her teammates.

When she’s on the field, she hears a familiar voice over the PA speaker — her geometry teacher. She’s a natural problem-solver who loves finding answers.

“It’s the closest to soccer with the dimensions,” she said. “I just love math.”

Like all rising juniors, Smith will be eligible to be contacted by college coaches on June 15. She’s not sure what will come next, but she knows wherever she ends up will be the right choice for her.

“Wherever the education has what I want to be when I’m older and a good soccer team, that’s where I’ll probably end up,” Smith said.

Nika Anschuetz is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @nlanschuetz.