Bellefonte’s Mallorie Smith closes in on 100 career goals

(TIM WEIGHT/FOR THE EXPRESS) Bellefonte’s Mallorie Smith dribbles the ball Monday versus Central. Smith is the Lady Raiders’ all-time leading scorer with 98 and is closing in on 100-career goals.

By SHAREIK FLOWERS

sflowers@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE- Bellefonte senior Mallorie Smith is a prolific attacker on the soccer field, and her penchant for scoring stretches back to her early childhood.

After being placed into dance lessons at an early age, her mother, Connie Smith, decided her talents were better suited in sports. Then in just her second year of soccer, Smith recorded double-digit goals in a youth soccer game that overlapped with her sixth birthday.

“It was only (under-six) soccer, but it was still like ‘wow’ as a little kid,” Smith explained. “But that’s where it all started.”

Smith is now a senior varsity player and re-writing Bellefonte’s record book. She set the single-season scoring record her sophomore year with 29 goals, with her final one of the season being the 57th total of her career to place her No.1 on Bellefonte’s all-time scoring list.

She added a new-single season record with 33 goals her junior campaign and currently sits at 98 total for her career. Just two shy of the century mark, Smith is wide-eyed at her accomplishments and will treasure conquering the 100-goal threshold she set for herself in 2017.

“It’s literally like a dream come true,” Smith said of approaching the century mark. “I still remember when I was a little freshman coming in here and I just wanted to make varsity. Then I ended up coming out for soccer, and with every single goal I got I became more confident with myself.”

Her varsity career began with an offensive explosion. Upon learning she made the varsity roster as a freshman, Smith penciled in the word ‘goals’ above the chalkboard in her room to monitor her scoring over her four-year career. Her intention was to fill in a circle every time she scored, and she quickly logged in three marks after she recorded a hat trick in her freshman debut against Penn Cambria.

“It’s a joy to have Mallorie on the field,” Bellefonte coach Stacey Miller said of Smith. “Anyone would love to have her as one of your strikers up top. She plays with tenacity, and she just has a knack for attacking the goal and finding the back of the net.”

Offensive production is crucial to any team’s success, and Mallorie Smith generates the lion’s share of scoring for Bellefonte. Since 2016 Smith has tallied 98 of the Raiders’ 177 goals, which is 55% of Bellefonte’s total scoring. She’s a skillful-dribbler who’s capable of finessing through multiple defenders in order to light up scoreboards.

“I really excel at having the ball at my feet,” Smith said. “Don’t get me wrong, making runs is another thing that I love to do, but if I have the ball at my feet I’m very comfortable with it. I’m that person that wants the ball at my feet, and I want to make something happen.”

With the control of the ball Smith had her finest performance of her career in her sophomore-season finale against Bald Eagle Area. Smith torched BEA for a career high and single-game school record with six goals. The six goals ballooned her season-total to 29 and gave her the single-season scoring record as well.

“It was one of the best feelings ever, especially against Bald Eagle Area who’s our rival school,” Smith said of breaking the record. “I didn’t go into that game thinking I was going to get six goals, but then it happened.”

Smith’s scoring splurge may have surprised her, but anyone who’s witnessed her play knows she possesses the ability to drop eye-opening numbers. Her varsity career features 17 games with three or more scores as she’s grown into a matchup-nightmare for opposing defenses.

“She has the career-goals and single-season scoring record for us, so she’s by far out-played all the other strikers that we’ve had,” Bellefonte coach Stacey Miller said. “I feel like if you take all the other strikers before who have had that record, and you combine them into one player, you get Mallorie.”

Smith stands at just 5-foot-3 and is noticeably smaller than many of the athletes on the field. Her smaller size forced her to place greater emphasis on honing skills, which correlated into her impressive ball-handling prowess.

“I’ve always been smaller than everyone, so I’ve always needed to focus more on the tactical part of the game instead of the strength part of the game because ‘what is a 5-foot-3 girl going to do to a 5-foot-9 defender, other than speed and agility and try to get around them? ‘” Smith explained. “So I’ve focused more on trying to keep the ball close at my feet.”

When Smith laces her cleats today she’ll shoot for her 100th goal against Tyrone. If successful the moment will resonate with her the remainder of her life, and she’ll get to embrace the glory in front of friends and family who’ve supported her every step of the way.

“My teammates are obviously supportive of me, and my family is obviously supportive,” she said. “Every time I go home they congratulate me and tell me what I need to do better. And I honestly always take it to heart because I’m representing my family, my school and my team. I just want to do the best that I can.”

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