The leading scorer on UC Irvine's soccer team is Smith. So is the third-leading scorer. So are two of the best defenders.
"If your name is Smith, you're on my team," Coach Derek Lawther said.
All told, there are four Smiths on the roster, all of them starters.
Two--senior forward Kevin Smith and sophomore fullback Jason Smith--are brothers. The other two--Dave Smith, a senior fullback, and Scott Smith, a junior forward--aren't related to anyone else on the team.
With all the Smiths on the field, there is room for confusion among spectators, especially because one or another is often announced over the public-address system.
With three goals and three assists this season, Kevin Smith is the team's leading scorer. He is also the school's career leader in scoring, goals and assists.
You'll hear Scott Smith's name a lot, too, and not just because he's third in scoring with two goals and two assists. He is also frequently carded--he has three yellows and two reds, and he's getting into deeper trouble. A red card forces a player to sit out the next game, but any accumulation of five also forces him to miss a game. Three more would force him to miss another. Lawther pleads his player's case.
"He's big (6 feet 2, 190 pounds), and he's sometimes awkward going for the ball," Lawther said. "He's not a rough player, he just looks rough."
Kevin and Jason Smith say the four Smiths have little trouble with the shared last name; they just use their first. And the brothers, who played together at Edison High School and are a year apart in age, say they enjoy playing together again.
"Maybe at home, I recruited him a little bit," said Kevin, 21.
Jason, 20, sat out one season before playing on an Orange Coast College team that won the State championship last year, then transferred to Irvine.
"He just had to get his act together," Kevin said. "He had to put his mind to it and get his butt off the couch." Then he added another brotherly dig. "We get along, but I only have to deal with him for one year."
Even though almost everyone concerned terms this a rebuilding year for the men's soccer team, there is a lot of frustration about the last three games. All overtime. All losses.
Irvine (3-6) has gone to overtime five times, losing four.
"It shouldn't happen," Jason Smith said. "It's a combination of doing bad things and bad luck."
"A loss is a loss," Kevin Smith said. "If the game lasts 120 minutes, you've got to be into it until the end."
The three finalists for athletic director--Vic Cegles, Arizona State assistant athletic director; Roy Danforth, Fairleigh Dickinson athletic director, and Brad Rothermel, former Nevada Las Vegas athletic director--have been on campus this week for their second interviews. Their days included an unusual appointment--each candidate had an hour blocked off for sessions with athletes or other students who wanted to meet them or ask them questions.
Danny Williams, the former women's track coach who recently resigned his position as director of marketing and promotions, has been named head track coach at South Carolina State.
Williams will coach the men's and women's track and cross-country teams. S.C. State is a Division I school in Orangeburg, S.C., with an enrollment of about 5,000.
The traditional opening of basketball practice on Oct. 15 is a thing of the past, by NCAA regulation. This year, for the first time, practices cannot begin until Nov. 1, and the regular season--excluding certain tournaments--cannot begin until Dec. 1.
The rules are part of a broad attempt to curb the number of hours students spend practicing and competing in athletics.
One widespread tradition that UC Irvine will continue this year is a public first practice beginning shortly after midnight. The twist, of course, is that the eve of the first day of practice is now Halloween, so it could make for quite a different sort of event.
Both the men's and women's teams--already involved in conditioning workouts, as NCAA rules allow--are expected to participate.
Anastasia Arnold, a senior middle blocker and captain of the volleyball team, is expected to miss at least a month with a broken little finger on her right hand. Arnold was leading the team in blocking, averaging 1.1 a game. Her replacement is junior Jessica Perkins.
The volleyball team, 7-8 and 2-6 in the Big West Conference, plays Cal State Fullerton at 7:30 tonight at Titan Gym.
The golf team, which reached the NCAA championships for the first time in school history last spring, opens its three-event fall schedule Monday at an invitational in Stockton. Among the top players back from last year's team is Steve Holmes, who shot an opening-round 67 at the NCAA championships last season. He missed the cut after shooting 81 in the second round.