UNB Saint John Athletics
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Smith caps senior season with all-conference honours

Author: Scott Briggs

Posted on Nov 10, 2022

Category: Varsity Sports , ACAA , Soccer

Jillian Smith didn’t touch the field in her first year with the UNB Saint John women’s soccer team, but she prepared as if she were a regular. Her efforts paid off. She eventually became the Seawolves’ starting goalkeeper and earned this year’s first team all-conference honours in her final season.


“My team always trusted me, but this team trusted me a lot more,” Smith said. “This year was fabulous.”

No doubt.

The Seawolves finished the regular season with a 7-1-4 record, good enough for second in the ACCA and a berth in the conference semifinal in Fredericton. The Seawolves defeated Holland College before losing in the final on penalty kicks to Mount Saint Vincent University. 

Regardless, Smith made her mark. The senior standout led the conference with a .933 save percentage while finishing second in saves and goals-against average.Through it all, Smith and fellow co-captain Karlee Duval (second team all-conference) earned praise for their veteran leadership.

“They’re phenomenal leaders,” said Seawolves head coach PJ Ward, this year’s ACAA women’s coach of the year. “Not only do they lead by example, but they know different ways to approach and help players.”

That open and positive communication created the kind of chemistry that characterizes championship-caliber clubs.

“I’ve never been on a team this close,” Smith said. “I don’t think anyone felt left out. I see our team as a family.”

Speaking of family, that’s one of the reasons Smith moved to Saint John from Markham, Ont. Her grandfather, George Allen, grew up here, and Smith lived with him during her first year at UNB Saint John. She now lives in Rothesay, and the rest of the family has moved to the area as well. They’ll be on campus to congratulate her when she earns her Bachelor of Education degree. Meanwhile, Smith is confident the program will remain competitive due to a strong nucleus of young players. 

“They’re mature for their age,” she said. “I never think of any of them as immature. That communication is there because we’ve all grown so close.”

That closeness was evident on senior recognition day, as Smith and the other graduating Seawolves were saluted during a post-game ceremony after an Oct. 15 win over Crandall.


“It made me bawl my eyes out,” Smith said. “It meant so much, because being here for five years, I’ve grown to love our team and UNB Saint John. It just showed us that they do care.”

When Smith becomes a teacher, she’ll be able to offer her students lots of lessons about perseverance and determination.

“She drove herself,” Ward said. “She knows how to push herself to the limit to make sure she’s a good teammate and a good leader. It just sets an example of what it means to play at UNB Saint John, and that everybody needs to hold each other accountable if we fail to meet those standards.”


Meanwhile, other Seawolves earning all-conference selections were Joce Splitgerber and Julianne MacCallum on the first team, while Hope Gaudet notched a spot on the second team.