- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

NEWARK, Del. — Rob Smith came to Delaware to earn an MBA.

Reaching his first lacrosse final four is a sweet bonus.

Smith, who played three years at Georgetown, is a mainstay on a defense that helped the unseeded Blue Hens (13-5) advance to a semifinal meeting with Johns Hopkins tomorrow at Baltimore’s M&T; Bank Stadium.

“If you told me in September that we would have made it to the final four, I don’t know if I would have believed you,” Smith said. “But me coming in fresh, not knowing the system, not knowing how hard the team works, that’s kind of the key. We just work so hard, we deserve to be here.”

Smith redshirted his first season at Georgetown, then gradually assumed a larger role the next three years. The defenseman wanted to start work on an MBA, and the Hoyas’ coaches helped him look for a landing spot.

Fairfield, St. John’s and Syracuse surfaced as possibilities. Then Delaware assistant Chris Collins, who knew Smith when both were growing up, called to see whether he was interested in the Blue Hens.

The fit, both athletically and academically, was ideal for Smith, who has five goals and 49 groundballs this year. The addition of a physical 6-foot, 215-pounder who played on three NCAA tournament teams perfectly suited Delaware, which is in its first final four.

“I can’t quit talking about Rob Smith,” coach Bob Shillinglaw said. “It’s been like he’s been here for four years. He’s kind of the elder statesman. He came here with playoff experience and is an extremely intelligent kid, yet he’s so funny to be around and so down to earth. … He’s just the total package.”

The Blue Hens’ run provided Smith some eventual bragging rights. Georgetown suffered a quarterfinal loss for the sixth straight year Saturday, and Smith is waiting a bit before contacting some of his former teammates.

“I think they’re a little bitter,” Smith said with a grin. “I wasn’t going to give them any calls. Not that they’re upset with me; I think they’re upset with how the game went on Saturday. I kind of let it go. [But] in the near future, after it’s settled a little bit, I’m going to start calling down there and stick it to them.”

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