PLL Star Peyton Smith Interviewed: Rookie Season During COVID
Peyton Smith is a PLL rookie sixth overall pick by the Redwoods LC. Smith was a prolific player at faceoff for the Marist Red Wolves of the MAAC in college. Smith holds records for third most ground balls and second highest faceoff percentage in school history as well as receiving honors for Preseason MAAC Co-Player of the Year, Preseason All Conference, and MAAC All Academic Team. In the abbreviated 2020 season, Smith won 25/66 faceoffs for a success rate of 38%.
So Peyton, how much of a "dream come true" is it to play in in the Premier Lacrosse League?
"The jump in talent level was insane and the face-off rules were different speed of play. Also the call was the breathtaking when I found out that I was drafted; I could not wait to be in the pros."
What are the differences between college and the pros?
"In the pros they line the ball at the scoop of the head (so at the bottom part) . The game is just faster all around. The refs blow the whistle a lot faster to keep the game going in the pros."
Do you miss being in the bubble with the boys? And best moment from the bubble that the average viewer wouldn’t know?
"The best moment with the guys was the down time. They played a lot of katan in the bubble, and just running around the facility with the guys and seeing all the gear. Also, just being able to see that jersey with your name on the back of it was an awesome feeling."
Current and former players that inspire you?
"Brendan Fowler- "(Faceoff guy for the Archers in the PLL) He was one of the first guys to teach me all the ins and outs of face offs"- he was the guy when Peyton was growing up
Former- "Greg Gurenlian (Former face-off for the Redwoods and future hall of fame lacrosse player) obviously was a huge mentor to my playing career-
Gary Gait and Dave Petro were big influences in my life even though they were not face off guys. Just watching their YouTube highlights made lacrosse look so fun!"
Was the decision to not come back for 5th year difficult?
"It was. Everybody in the country was going through the same process-- it came down to a lot of things, mainly the ability to be home and having a job lined up. Graduation was just in the picture and the fact I got drafted really sealed the deal for the decision."
Do you feel like your relationship with Greg Gurenlian helped you wind up with the Redwoods?
"Greg has always my back, Greg's close connection with coach Nat helped. Greg has always been a great guy helping me out."
Who is the biggest leader on the Redwoods that isn’t a captain?
"Jack Near- (Offensive utility player for the Redwoods) a guy who flew under the radar and made a bunch of plays for the guys. Great locker room presence always raising his voice, and always big in coaching the new guys on the team. "
Funniest guy on the Redwoods?
"Nick Osello (Redwoods player and Twitter sensation) is the funniest guy on the team!"
Is Nick Osello a different person than he is on Twitter? And do you have less respect for Kyle Hartzell after the twitter scandal?
"Same guy in person that he is on twitter! His positive outlook is great, especially the way he is always bringing up positive Fridays. As for Hartzell, it helped raised a lot of money which was a good thing." *Does not think of Kyle Hartzell any less*
Who likes to party the most in league?
"Ryder Garnsey (Lefty attackman for the Redwoods) is 100% a good time but I did not really get a chance to experience the social side of the team because of the bubble."
Does Ryder get a bad wrap for being a douchebag?
"Ryder is not a douche at all he plays so hard. Ryder just plays with a lot of confidence so it can come off as douchey but he loves the game as much as the next guy."
Was the talent level in the PLL what you thought it was going to be or did it blow you away?
"It was what I thought it was going to be, already had the mindset that everyone was going to bring their A game. The first game I was a little blown and had to adjust, but I was mentally prepared."
Outlook for the next season?
"It's going to be good- a lot of moving parts to happen next year and we only played 5 games together this season. The threat from Myles Jones (All star middy for the Redwoods) and Sergio Perkovic (Also, an All-Star middy for the Redwoods) and from the the 2pt is great, the defense is great, missing stuff in the offense and they will be so good for talent."
Any rookie hazing?
"Nothing really just had to do some standard introduction stuff"
Do you foresee a PLL and MLL merger?
"No idea — too many rumors, the PLL is just more elite and that's all I know. The deal with NBC has been just a blessing for the league, and if the MLL is going to keep up ,they are gonna have to change what they do."
Final question, as a former goalie for Hampden-Sydney College, how would I stack up in the PLL?
"Nick Arcuri would be one of the best players in the PLL"