The Pioneers’ goalie, a starter on last year’s PIAA 4A state championship boys’ soccer team, has a 0.67 goals-against average over 16 games this fall (as of Monday Nov. 6), including 10 shutouts. Considered an excellent distributor by Conestoga head coach David Zimmerman, he has dished out three assists this season. He also has received All-Central League honors.
Q: What was your first reaction when the buzzer sounded and Conestoga was the district champ? Is there one play from Saturday’s district final that stands out in your memory? Can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?
A: My first reaction following the buzzer was excitement for States and the road back to Hershey. A moment that stood out to me was one of Jeff Charles’ 50-50 wins. We preach grit and effort all the time at practice, and Jeff showed that perfectly with that play
Q: Coach Zimmerman mentioned that you are an excellent distributor. Can you tell us a little about your role as distributor, how you determine who to distribute to?
A: It is fairly easy to be a good distributor with kids like Chris Donovan streaking up the field. If Chris is open or has slight pressure I still see a good opportunity for an outlet pass or punt.
Q: Can you give us an example of how on-field communication with the defense has played a big role in a Conestoga victory this season?
A: Communication is everything at the back. We always say offense wins games, defense wins championships; and no good defense thrives without communication. I can see the field better than anyone so most of the communication lines on my shoulders.
Q: Have you always played goalie? What sparked your original interest in the goalie position?
A: My brother Will, a goalkeeper at Lehigh right now, was my main inspiration for becoming a goalkeeper. I started playing goalkeeper when I was around six or seven and have loved it ever since
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game as a goalie? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: I am working on distribution not just on restarts but in the run of play as well. I think my strongest aspect of my game right now is shot stopping and being able to get a good jump on the ball.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: Before a game I normally relax, maybe get food with some friends, and then drive to the game with Jack Murphy, an outside back, for good luck.
Q: Who have been your biggest mentors as a goalie, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: My biggest mentors as a goalie have been my brother, who has always helped me and has molded me into the keeper I am today, and my goalkeeper coach Jaime O’Neil. Coach O’Neil is a relatively behind-the-scenes coach, but he has made me change the way I see practices. We attack my weaknesses and improve my strengths and I owe a lot of my goalkeeping ability to him.
Q: What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I think I may want to major in finance in college and maybe become involved in an investment firm when I’m older.
Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Conestoga? What sparked your interest in each of these activities?
A: I’m involved in the chess team at Conestoga and look forward to playing after the season ends coach Z actually introduced chess to me and thought I would like it. I have played ever since.
Fun facts – Luke Smith
Favorite Book: Into The Wild.
Favorite TV Show: The Office.
Favorite Movie: Step-Brothers.
Favorite Athlete: Stefan Diggs.
Favorite Team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite Place to Visit: Vermont.
Favorite Pregame Meal: Berwyn Pizza Cheesesteak.
Family Members: brothers Will and Charlie, parents Kristin and Jon.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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