All-Metro Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Nini Rabsatt-Smith
by Jay G. Tate Montgomery Advertiser Click here for originial story
• Scored 24 goals for the Class 1A-4A state champions
• Spent the first half of the season playing defense, then switched to forward as MA sought a consistent scoring presence
• Her ability to break free along the wing created plenty of passing opportunities near the goal — Rabsatt-Smith finished with 16 assists
• Her last goal broke a tie with 24 seconds remaining in the state final
• Six-year member of the All-Metro team
• Signed a scholarship to play at South Alabama
Your senior season was split in two — some defending and some attacking. How did you like pulling double duty?
I loved it. When we were having problems finishing and they needed me to score goals, that's how it started. I would try to score goals, and then I'd have to get back. Then Garrett Barnes proved herself as a great defensive player, and that allowed me to move up top. I had to remember that my main focus was scoring goals. Once I got that through my head, things really started happening for me.
How did you rack up so many assists in such a short time?
When there's one defender and I'm back there, they have to pick me or other players in the middle. That gave me a lot of opportunities to pass when they'd pick me. I got better with my crosses, and sometimes I'd dribble at the goal and pass it to the middle. We'd have a lot of people wide open.
What will you remember most about this season?
This is the season where we were tested the most. Last year a lot of people expected us to win. We lost some really important seniors, and nobody was sure what we really had this year. We had new seventh-graders and eighth-graders. It took a while to figure out where we stood. The dynamic totally changed. We got it figured out after a while, and we played really well after that.
What do you remember about your final goal?
I was so far out. From that distance (35 yards), you never know what's going to happen for sure. Being able to score that goal was pretty much the biggest moment of my career. I can't believe it happened like that.
How important has midfielder Erin Katz been to you?
I've been playing with her for such a long time, and we won two titles together. I can't imagine ever having a better teammate. We pass a lot of good balls to each other. I knew I could always count on her to make the right pass or the right play. She made me better. She makes everyone on the field better.
How are you approaching things at South Alabama?
My approach is to stay healthy, eat right and train as far as I can, but not over-train. I just want to show them what I have to offer. I'm used to having to adjust to new players, so that’s nothing new. We graduated a few at MA every year, and we all had to learn how to adapt. I'm looking forward to the challenge of meeting new players and seeing how well I can play with them.