SACRAMENTO, Calif. – St. Francis senior Chloe Smith (of Rio Linda) will sign with the Villanova program on Nov. 14 after committing to the Wildcats two years ago.
“I started talking to Villanova during my sophomore year and went to visit the campus,” said Smith. “I completely fell in love with the campus.”
Smith joins a Villanova program coached by Bridget Orchard, who takes over the program at her alma mater in 2019 after 17 successful seasons at Fordham. She led the Rams to eight NCAA Championships and was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year seven times.
“Coach Orchard is awesome and we clicked immediately,” said Smith. “I could not be more excited to play for her.”
Smith is excited to play in the Big East Conference that includes former Troubadours Mel Baccay at Michigan State and Mary Baccay at Providence.
“I have always wanted to go to highly competitive school,” said Smith. “This is what I have done my entire life so to be reaching this goal is awesome and being in a competitive conference was what I was looking for to push myself to get better in college and face the best of the best.”
Smith has high aspirations for the potential for the Villanova program during her career under the leadership of Coach Orchard.
“I have a super competitive nature that I get from my mom,” said Smith. “The new coach is win-win-win. Our goal is to get to the tournament in Oklahoma City, win our division. It is all I can ask for is to be on a team that is competitive, wants to win and I could not be more thrilled to go to such a great academic school.”
Smith has improved each of her three varsity seasons, entering her senior season with a career.448 batting average with 10 home runs, 74 runs batted with a 100 career hits. She hit a career-best .543 as a junior, adding 12 doubles, three triples and four home runs en route to All-Delta League honors for the second consecutive season. She was also named to the SportsStars/River Cats All-City team.
“I will remember the bonds I have with people,” said Smith. “I have been playing softball since I was five and travel ball since I was seven. I have made some of my best friends on the high school team at St. Francis. Coach Kevin has made me into the player I am today. I am so grateful for him and the girls on the team.”
St. Francis coach Kevin Warren has coached Chloe with the Troubadours and his travel ball team, the California Breeze.
“Chloe will bring a strong work ethic, versatility, great defense and powerful bat to the Villanova softball program,” said Warren. “She understands the game, can play multiple positions and is a gritty player. I’ve enjoyed coaching Chloe the past 6 years because she is willing to do whatever is necessary for her team to be successful. She’s extremely competitive and works out daily to perfect her skills.”
Smith committed to the Wildcats as a third baseman but is a versatile fielder who can play in both in the infield at any position and outfield.
“I am a utility player,” said Smith. “Freshman year I am going to go in looking for a spot. My goal is to start my freshman year. I am not going to get it automatically. I am going to have to work hard to get there. I want to work hard to show my coach I deserve that position and prove it myself and everyone else.”
Smith has been joined in the Troubadour dugout with her father and assistant coach Sean Smith. It has provided the two special times over the years.
“There is ups and downs but it has created this bond with him that I feel like is stronger than if he was not my coach,” said Smith. “On the field he is my coach but at home he is my dad. There is a healthy balance. I am so thankful he has been there every step of the way to see my journey. I have been able to make both my parents proud.”
She will have another opportunity to shine in her upcoming season for the Troubadours with the having high expectations.
“I want to step up more as a leader and become more vocal,” said Smith. We want to focus on the positives instead of the negatives if we lost and learn from our mistakes. We want to turn into a winning program and get that Division I title.”