Sports

Athlete of the week: Smith ’17 garners MVP, Ivy League honors

With record-setting .900 hitting percentage, junior leads Brown to most wins in Ivy League

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, September 25, 2015

The volleyball team dealt handily with all three of its opponents last weekend at the Central Connecticut State University Invitational, dropping only one set throughout the entire tournament. Following this weekend’s commanding performance, Bruno currently boasts the most victories in the Ivy League with its 6-5 record.

Payton Smith ’17 has been instrumental to the team’s efforts so far this season, and the middle blocker was particularly prolific last weekend, leading the team to its three wins with a tournament total of 37 kills and 11 blocks. Her impressive play at the net twice tied top-five single-game hitting percentages in program history. Smith tied the second-highest hitting percentage in Brown history in the match against Holy Cross with a .900 percentage, and her .692 hitting percentage against Hartford matched the fourth-highest mark. Smith’s stellar performance earned her All-Tournament team and MVP accolades as well as a place on the Ivy League’s weekly Honor Roll.

For her leadership and career-best performances, Smith has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: How did you first start playing volleyball?

Smith: I first started in high school, my freshman year. I just kind of wanted to join something with my friends, and I really didn’t think anything of it. Also, my younger sister was pretty sick with an autoimmune disease, and my parents were kind of busy with her, and I had to find an extracurricular after school. I was on the freshmen team that year, so it wasn’t very good. I guess I started as a way to kind of keep busy.

When did volleyball become more than just a way to keep busy?

Junior year. Freshman year I was just starting and still learning about the sport. And then I started playing club just in my area sophomore year. And then junior year I started playing on a more serious club team and emailing college coaches and putting myself out there, not really expecting anything, but that’s when it took a more serious turn.

How did it feel to be chosen as the Most Valuable Player at the CCSU Invitational?

It was very exciting! It was great, and I’m really proud of the entire team. With my position especially, it requires a good pass, a good set and a lot of teamwork, so I was just really proud of them.

What is your favorite part of being a member of Brown’s volleyball team?

I would say having a family on campus. It is just really nice to know that all of them have my back. I really love being close with the upperclassmen and being able to lead the underclassmen and having that family dynamic away from home is very nice.

Pregame meal of choice?

Probably grilled chicken.

What are your thoughts on the rest of the season?

I’m very hopeful. I think our freshmen are excellent and bring a sort of competitiveness to the team. And I think our seniors this year are doing a great job of bonding us, and everyone is really stepping up this year, so I would say I’m hopeful.