Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/8/19
Courtesy of University of Delaware Sports
Written by Brianna Pisacane
Growing up in the Schmitt household, it’s easy to see where women’s lacrosse senior Isabelle Schmitt gets it.
A love for sports was instilled early on from her dad, an All-American cornerback for the University of Delaware, and her love from lacrosse was passed down from her older sisters, Hannah and Natalie, both Division I student-athletes, and like Isabelle, graduates of Archbishop Carroll.
Most importantly, the never-ending support from the entire Schmitt clan kept Isabelle steady through the ups and downs of it all.
Isabelle’s father, George Schmitt, was a star cornerback in football and record holder for the Blue Hens. He was drafted in the NFL by the then-St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, and was inducted into the Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
All three of his daughters, Hannah, Natalie and Isabelle, have taken his same path of dedicating themselves to their sport, all playing lacrosse at the collegiate level.
“Being the youngest, I was always following in my sister’s footsteps,” said Isabelle, a senior defender for the Blue Hens who open the 2019 women’s season today at Temple. “We always played with each other in the backyard, and my dad would have us race. It was competitive in our household, but also a good support system with a lot of encouragement.”
Isabelle grew up going to her sister’s lacrosse games, and after seeing how much they loved the sport, she knew that she wanted to try it too.
“I think watching them play and have fun and make all of their friends – and it being a fast-paced sport – was something that I was really attracted to (when I started playing) in fourth grade. I saw my sisters doing that, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Isabelle, who started every game last year for the Hens and earned CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll while posting a career-best 22 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers.
As she was learning the game, her sisters were a great resource to have. Hannah and Natalie were always honest, giving great feedback and pushing Isabelle to work on her weaknesses.
When it came time for the collegiate recruitment process, Isabelle received nothing but support from her mom, dad and sisters. She had a passion for the sport, and seeing both her sisters – Hannah at Loyola and Natalie at Penn State – follow their dreams to the next level made it seem an inevitability that she would too.
“I think (playing lacrosse in college) was always the plan, even when I started up. For girls’ lacrosse, the club sport starts in sixth or seventh grade, and when you do that it’s usually such a big time commitment,” she explained. “So I don’t think there was every a day when I didn’t think I wanted to play in college. I always knew.”
Isabelle chose to commit to Delaware after seeing how welcoming the girls on the team were, and how the new players were taken in with open arms. It reminded her of the love and support she received from her family. The team has given her a sense of sisterhood, just like the one she experienced at home.
“Everyone gets along really well” she remarked. “It’s something special.”
Coincidentally, Isabelle also gained a “big brother” on campus when Hannah’s boyfriend Trey Wilkes became the volunteer assistant coach for the men’s program last year. It added another layer to her already large Blue Hen family.
Isabelle knows that part of her drive to succeed comes from her dad, but she doesn’t feel the pressure of his success at UD. Quite the opposite, it’s her dad that she calls on when she is struggling with the day-to-day grind of being a Division I athlete.
“When I’m struggling, I look to him and I know that he can always help to figure out how to get through a rough patch,” Isabelle said. “His success has helped him to to know how to handle when we’re [my sisters and I] going through something, and he has always made us humble in whatever we’re doing.”
As a father, it has been a joy for George to watch his daughters compete at the collegiate level. However, what matters more to George and his wife, Anne, is knowing that they raised their girls to be humble, team players.
Despite his many accolades, George finds value in the small things, and encourages his girls to work hard no matter what.
“I always prided myself as being a practice player,” he said. “Believe it or not, I bought into that philosophy early on, so I always preach to the girls to treat practice like a game, and by doing that, game day just becomes another practice.”
Hannah, Natalie and Isabelle each have a piece of their father’s competitive spirit, but of the three, Isabelle says that Hannah is the most competitive.
“I am definitely the most competitive… both on and off the field,” Hannah laughed. And much like Isabelle, Hannah also concurs that her family has played a big role on her road to success.
“The support of my family has definitely influenced me and my lacrosse career,” Hannah said. “My dad was always pushing me to be the best I could be, and both my parents barely missed a game. I loved getting to play in front of them and making them proud. I also had my little sisters looking up to me, so I tried to be a great role model for them by showing them what it takes to be a good player and leader.”
Personality-wise, Isabelle says that she and her sisters are all very outgoing. But even though their on the field styles of play are a bit different, they’re known to all have one thing in common.
“We’ve been told that we all run the same. I never noticed that,” she laughed.
Though Isabelle’s time at UD is winding to a close, she knows that her family will continue to support her through every challenge life brings. She has already accepted a job in Newark, DE with J.P. Morgan as a Global Finance and Business Management analyst.
The advice that her dad has continually given her on the field will be applicable as she sets off in life after college.
“If you just live each day and try to get better … then everything will come. It’s simple. I just play my best, say a prayer, and whatever happens, happens.”