Another NCAA lacrosse title? Northwestern senior Shannon Smith is working on it.
Smith had one goal and one assist to help the No. 2-seeded Wildcats (18-2) knock off Notre Dame 12-7 at Lakeside Field in a first-round tournament game Saturday. The Wildcats will host the winner of the Virginia/Duke game Sunday in a quarterfinal match next weekend.
‘‘I feel like we’ve had some excellent practices and everyone is working hard and we’re focusing and concentrating,” Smith said. ‘‘Right now it’s about if we can keep it up and stay focused and mentally tough.”
Smith is only one goal short of tying the NU record for career goals with 250. In a rare occurrence for Smith, she was shut out in every offensive category when the Wildcats lost 14-7 to Florida on May 5 in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators are the tournament’s No. 1 seed.
‘‘You don’t forget about [the Florida loss],” said Smith, who won the Tewaaraton Award in 2011 as the nation’s best lacrosse player. ‘‘We regrouped after it, and we watched some game film and learned a lot from it, and you keep it inside of you and let it drive you.”
What’s also driving Smith is earning another national title to go with the six the Wildcats have won since 2005 under coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
Smith already is one of the most decorated NU lacrosse players. Besides her national player of the year award a season ago, she broke the school record for goals in a season with 86 in 2011 and also notched 128 points for the seventh-best total in Division I history.
With those numbers behind her and her current statistics – 61 goals, 21 assists and 82 points in 20 games – Smith will leave quite a legacy in Evanston.
‘‘Great players have no fear to take a chance, and I think that is one thing that has defined Shannon and other players in this program,” Amonte Hiller said. ‘‘I know what she’s meant to her teammates the past few years as a role model who works hard and does everything our staff asks players to do.
‘‘Those who have followed Shannon have had a great example of what can happen when you wholeheartedly buy into this team.”
The Wildcats’ national runner-up finish to Maryland in 2010 and the personal shutout against Florida remain the only blips on Smith’s lacrosse rÃ©sumÃ©. When she came to Evanston from West Babylon, N.Y., she knew playing for Amonte Hiller would make her a better player, and four years later, Smith was right.
‘‘I have no regrets on my season or on my four years of being here,” Smith said. “I try to live my life with no regrets.”