Lehigh volleyball freshman setter Makena Smith has made an immediate impact on the Lehigh volleyball team, leading the team in assists with 574 and aces with 23.
Graduate assistant Emily Poole said that all athletes typically experience ups and downs in their freshman years.
“I think Makena (Smith) has just handled it with grace, and she’s putting up some pretty impressive numbers in her freshman year,” Poole said.
Coach Alexa Keckler said there was a lot to like about Smith’s game when recruiting her out of high school and was looking forward to getting her on campus.
“I loved Makena (Smith)’s size,” Keckler said “She’s a strong setter. She has smooth hands. She was able to be a big blocker in the front row which is something we have been aspiring to have as a setter.”
Smith comes to Lehigh from Annapolis, Maryland, by way of Broadneck High School.
Smith finished her high school career as Broadneck’s all-time leader in assists and blocks and led her team to the Class 4A State Championship in 2019.
Smith said she feels like having those accomplishments in her back pocket is helpful as she begins her collegiate career.
I’ve been working for this since I started playing volleyball… (I’ve been) practicing, doing extra reps, working out and going the extra mile just to be prepared,” Smith said.
Freshman Emily Stewart said that Smith has a competitive drive and knows how to fill her role.
“She knows what needs to get done, and you can trust her to get it done,” Stewart said. “She’s an amazing person to play with.”
Freshman Megan Schulte said that Smith came in with the mindset that she was immediately going to play and make a difference.
“She’s not afraid to fail, which you don’t see a lot with freshmen,” Schulte said.
Smith said whatever she can do to help the team produce more wins is number one on her list of priorities going forward.
Poole said that Smith’s future at Lehigh is bright.
“We really see a lot of good stuff happening for Makena (Smith) going forward,” Poole said. “She has a good head on her shoulders. She is super athletic and definitely wants to get better and has a great work ethic.”