MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Lady Raider sophomore midfielder Kate Loye traveled a long way to play collegiate soccer, but in the two years she has been on campus she has made a huge impact on the squad as they fight for a berth in next week’s Conference USA Tournament.
Loye comes to Murfreesboro all the way from Hamilton, New Zealand. So far, she feels like she had made the right decision.
“I was talking to a few of the universities, and this one seemed like they play soccer more on the ground like my style,” Loye said after the Lady Raiders 1-0 victory against Florida International on Sunday.
Last season, Loye was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in helping lead the Lady Raiders to a regular season conference title in their last year in the SBC. The award came after she missed the beginning of last season because of her commitment to the New Zealand national team. She has represented her country since she was 15-years-old, including competing last year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup and 2010’s U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Loye believes the international experience has helped her make the transition to college soccer here in the states.
“I think the intensity. I find it a real intense game here, and it helped me get into the groove of things,” she said. “Also, mentally it helped me throw out the bad stuff and keep the good stuff.”
This year MTSU is now in Conference USA, but Loye has enjoyed the same success on the pitch.
Heading into this past weekend’s action in which the Lady Raiders split their last two home matches of the season (losing 3-1 to North Texas on Oct. 25 and beating FIU 1-0), Loye was in the top 10 in C-USA in several categories. She’s fourth in the league in points scored with 17.
Both her teammates and coaches like what she brings to the field during each match.
“She is a really reliable teammate,” sophomore forward Grace Summers said. “If you are in trouble she is always there. You can just find her, and she will get out of the situation safety.”
MTSU head coach Aston Rhoden added: “Kate is a fantastic player in her own right. That’s why we recruited her, because we knew she could be a player that we could help build this program around. We knew she had a lot of talent and we knew it would not take her a long time to adjust to the collegiate game. She is doing everything she is expected to do.”
The Lady Raiders close the 2013 season at East Carolina tonight with kickoff at 6 p.m. It is a must win for MTSU as it tries to gain a berth into the 10-team C-USA Tournament next week in Houston. The Lady Raiders have to win and hope for Florida International to beat Marshall on the same night to get into the tournament.