Volleyball: Maddie Smith is spark plug of UW bench

 

Volleyball: Maddie Smith is spark plug of UW bench

first_imgIn the Badgers 2015 recruiting class it’s easy to find high school All-Americans and highly ranked players, but one new face knows that though she isn’t a part of the current rotation, she can help impact the team in a variety of ways.Maddie Smith, a freshman walk-on from St. Germain, Wisconsin is not only a future Badger standout but a character the team relies on to help get them through their midseason lulls.“She reminds of Olaf in Frozen,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “When he is sitting there and singing about summer, that is Maddie Smith.”While she isn’t the sidekick to the ice princess, Smith is carving out her own role on the team.Though she has only seen action in one game this year, Smith is integral cog of the Badger machine and brings the energy from the sidelines.“I was nominated cheer captain by the team,” Smith said. “I like to be cheerful and energetic — that is the way I stay engaged in the game, by bringing the energy.”That energy ignites the team not only in games but also in practice. Fellow freshman Tionna Williams knows that though Smith isn’t making a huge impact in the box score quite yet, the team’s chemistry would be unbalanced without her.“Maddie is one of a kind,” Williams said. “She is full of energy and she is one of those teammates you want to be around all the time. She always has a smile on her face and just brightens your day up.”Check the sidelines after any Wisconsin point and you can find Smith in the middle of a well-rehearsed routine.“We call it the block party,” Smith said.But Smith’s story doesn’t end as the cheer captain, she has a legacy to uphold not only for the state, but also for her family.The 6-foot-1 outside hitter and defensive specialist is Wisconsin’s only in-state player and the responsibility that comes with representing the Badger state is not lost on Smith.“It is an awesome feeling knowing that I get to represent my home state,” Smith said.She also knows what it means to don the red and white, as her mom was a member of the 1990 Big Ten championship team at UW.Despite the large shoes to fill, Smith welcomes the comparison.“I really wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps and felt that it was an awesome opportunity to do that,” Smith said.Even with Badger in her blood, Smith nearly didn’t make it to UW, and was the last member of the 2015 class to join the team. After committing in January, it didn’t take long for Smith to build a close connection with her future teammates.With seven newcomers on the team, the foundation has been set in stone for the future, and Sheffield sees the freshmen progressing.“They are all developing at different rates and all of them are having a different level of impact in the gym,” Sheffield said. “They are all really nice kids. I like them all and all of them are learning what it takes to compete and play at this level.”Smith knows that she may not be counted on in pressure moments this season, but she will be needed in future years to help keep Wisconsin near the top of the standings. Because of this, she views practice as her games to prepare herself for her inevitable moment in the spotlight.“In practice I try to bring my best out,” Smith said “Every opportunity I do get to play, I try to do my best and stay energized. Even if I am not in a drill, I will just cheer on the team.”last_img

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