NORTH CALDWELL, NJ -- Tara Smith, who plays field hockey at West Essex High School, this week signed a letter of intent to continue her athletic career at Columbia University.

A goalie, Smith made 149 saves this season for West Essex. She was in goal for 16 shutouts in 2019 and helped the team to a 23-2-1 record and a Group 2 state championship victory over Seneca.

As a junior, Smith posted 17 shutouts and made 138 saves.

"I love being able to see everything on the field and having the ability to communicate to my teammates about the direction of the game and when plays are unfolding," Smith told "Watching my older sister play field hockey in high school and college sparked my interest in goalkeeping at a very young age. I began to play and totally fell in love with the sport."