Senior long-stick midfielder Kyle Smith, the reigning SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year, was an honorable mention in the 2020 Inside Lacrosse Preseason Men’s Division III All-American.
“It makes me think about what I need to do to actually get the All-American honors,” Smith said.
Smith was chosen as the honorable mention selection, which makes him the first Cardinal to earn Preseason All-American recognition after Ryan Hubbard earned his back-to-back Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American honors in 2017 and 2018.
Head coach Joe May said Smith is the first athlete in the program to ever be awarded the SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year. He said this is an accomplishment for Smith, especially receiving that award as a junior. He also said winning the awards is a confidence booster for Smith this season.
May said while winning awards might bring negative effects onto people, he is not worried about Smith. He believes Smith deserves the award and he is impactful towards the team.
“He’s very calm, cool and collected. For his four years he’s been the silent warrior of the team,” May said. “110 percent in every single drill and never shies away from working hard.”
May tweeted the news when Preseason All-American recognition was announced. He set the expectation for Smith as 100 ground balls and 10 goals in this season.
Senior midfielder Daniel Bonafede said the team found out the news over winter break and Bonafede texted Smith right away when he found out. Bonafede and May both said the team is proud of Smith and happy to have him on the team. May also said
“He’s a pretty humble guy so he won’t ever talk about that but it’s an awesome honor and he deserves it,” senior midfielder Daniel Bonafede said.
Smith said it was intimidating when he first came into the lacrosse team because he was freshman but the team brought him in and was welcoming. Smith saw himself grow throughout the years after he joined the lacrosse team, not only as an athlete but also as a person.
Smith started out as a defense player and changed his position to long-stick midfielder in junior year. He had to learn different skills.
Adapting to the new team and different lifestyle made him a better player and a better person.
Smith said the team welcomed a number of freshmen this season and they know their game and it is just to get them up to speed with the rest of the team.
“I definitely take a lot of pride in that because everyone wants to lead their team in any way possible,” Smith said. “The team picks [the captain], so to see that everyone sees me as a leader makes me feel good and you know all your hard work pays off.”
Bonafede also said he has been bouncing off ideas with Smith since they are appointed as captains and they constantly communicate with the coaches and the team. Bonafede said it is a working process and training has been going well.
Smith has enjoyed his time with the team and the coaches. With this being the last season, he wants to win the SUNYAC championship with the team again as they have not won the championship since 2016.
“This is your last go, act really competitive in lacrosse and don’t graduate saying ‘I wish I did anything differently,’” May said.