After two years on the bench recovering from an injury, lacrosse attacker Jordan Smith ’14 went on to score 44 goals in her junior year, finishing the season with just five fewer than Carolyn Gorajek ’13, Bowdoin’s all-time goal, assist and points leader. With Gorajek’s graduation, Smith is well on her way to taking over as the team’s leading scorer. In the first six games, she has scored 17 goals and handed out seven assists.

Smith’s father introduced her to the game at an early age when he brought home a few lacrosse sticks from a yard sale. In second grade, she joined her town’s fledgling program and had made the decision to play in college by her freshman year of high school. Twenty-eight school visits and hours of game tape later, the New Jersey native settled on Bowdoin after an overnight visit, which she said “felt like home.”

Smith only played the attack position occasionally in high school, but came to Bowdoin expecting a change from her position as midfielder. She earned a starting position her junior year and is now the center of the team’s attack. The Polar Bears’ offense starts at the top of the offensive zone and prioritizes mid-field drives, leaving the low attackers to buzz around the crease looking for feeds. Smith has proven to excel at backdoor cuts and catches in traffic.

“She’s probably the one attacker I hate to cover,” defender Erica Nangeroni ’14 said of their practice scrimmages. “She has the quickest feet and she’s the hardest cutter to cover, which on defense is annoying but on offense is exactly what you need.”

Statistics also suggest that she gets a lot of goals by converting on close. She has scored 17 goals on 29 shots—a 58.6 shooting percentage that ranks second in the NESCAC among the top 50 scorers. Her incredible shot on goal record of 90 percent proves that she can beat the goalie when she gets the ball near the net.

She currently averages more goals per game than anyone else in the NESCAC, tied with teammate and midfielder Betsy Sachs ’14.

She also recorded a competitive five turnovers at this point in the season, lowest on the team and proof of her reputation among teammates for holding on to the ball.

“Personally, I feel really comfortable with Jordan on the field,” Nangeroni said. “I’m never worried about her losing the ball. I trust her decisions on the field.”

“She’s a great person to play with,” Sachs said. “I know I can throw a pass to her and she’ll catch it. She’s good about freeing herself up.”

Fellow attacker Molly Popolizio ’14, responsible for eight assists and a goal so far this season, also agreed.

“She will catch almost everything in the middle,” she said. “She makes other players look better.”

Popolizio also attributes Smith’s success to her ability to shoot as soon as she catches a pass. Many players need to separate from the defense to catch passes cleanly, and often give up a shooting lane to do so.

“She doesn’t need that extra space from a defender,” Popolizio said. “She always cuts at a good angle to shoot.”

The team has gotten so used to her precise cuts that they are able to anticipate her moves on the field. This has made it particularly difficult for opposing defenses, considering that her own defense, which knows how she plays, struggles to contain her attacks.

As an environmental studies and sociology double major, she has also taken on captain responsibilities this year. Her fellow captains appreciate her approach to the job. Nangeroni acknowledged her ability to appeal to different personalities on the team and Sachs noted that some of the team’s current pregame rituals are of Smith’s design.

Smith has a well-known attacking move where she gets the ball from behind the goal and tiptoes along the crease before putting her stick behind the goalie, depositing the ball directly into the net. If her scoring rate persists, it’s a move that spectators on all sides will likely see a few more times.

The sports editor of the Orient chooses the Athlete of the Week based on exemplary performance.