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The Antelope

Loper soccer led with late offseason addition at goalie

Mackenzie Smith posted 84 saves at Midland last year. Photo provided by Kolton Maturey / Antelope Staff

With only one player at goalie during the offseason, the UNK women’s soccer team was looking for another player at the position. 

The search ended when the team found Mackenzie Smith, a sophomore out of Midland University in Fremont.

 “She was looking into UNK because she had looked into UNK before,” said Loper soccer coach Rob Breton. “The stars kind of aligned. It was one of those weird situations where it’s the week before the preseason, I get an email and we went from there.”

Smith was looking to transfer after the coach that recruited her at Midland left the program. UNK ended up being one of the main schools that she was considering.

“I talked to coach Rob a bit and it was just a really good option for me,” Smith said. “I just loved the way he coached and he invited me here.”

The 5-foot-6 goalie transferred three weeks before the season started.

“I had to figure out everything the week I was supposed to move in,” Smith said. “I didn’t even have a place to live until three days before I was supposed to move in.”

UNK’s other goalie, Eden Miura, suffered a concussion during the offseason which was her third in four years. Smith has been able to step up for Miura as the team continues to take precautions.

“Mack’s really stepped up to the plate and really started to take some of the weight on her shoulders,” Breton said. 

This move has been a challenging but rewarding opportunity for Smith.

“It’s obviously a bigger school and that’s a big adjustment,” Smith said. “It’s just a better environment for me. I wasn’t happy where I was at but I’m extremely happy here. I love it here.”

Smith prefers the environment at UNK compared to what she’s had in the past.

“I just love coming to practice,” Smith said. “I love coming to games. It’s such a good environment and you just look forward to coming to them.”

Smith has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old and enjoys the uniqueness of being a goalie on the team.

“Not everyone can do it, Smith said. “It’s one of the more rare positions. I just love always having action and always having shots on me.”

Smith has posted one shutout this year against Southwest Minnesota State. She has 53 saves so far.

The team and coaching staff have been grateful for Mackenzie’s presence, including her humorous personality. 

“She’s got a very strong personality,” Breton said. “She’s goofy, funny and committed all the time. I love her overall personality and how fun she can be at practice.”

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GRANT TIGHE, Sports Editor
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