An easy, but sometimes misleading, way to identify a soccer team’s top players is to check the scoring column and see who sits atop the roster. For MSU, freshman midfielder has contributed very important minutes, but she would not be noticed by the eye test.
She might not have the statistics or highlight plays to draw the attention of outsiders right now, but McKerchie’s reliable presence has been a bright spot for the Spartans so far.
She has started each of the team’s first 10 games and her early development has added important depth to the squad. She understands that her work ethic has enabled her to garner the coaches attention and, ultimately, a spot on the field.
“I knew that if I came in and worked hard, I could be rewarded,” McKerchie said. “Being able to play is an awesome feeling. It’s an awesome feeling knowing that all your hard work has paid off and your coaches see that you do all the little things.”
McKerchie has somewhat of a smaller frame, and in the Big Ten, it won’t do her any favors. The conference is a physically demanding league, and through MSU’s first four Big Ten games a few Spartans have taken a beating.
For McKerchie, the physicality is by far the toughest area of the game to which she has needed to adjust.
“The biggest thing about going to college and playing Division I soccer is how physical it is,” McKerchie said. “Coming in and having to play physical, I’m not really used to that. That’s my big adjustment. The coaches have been helping me out and giving me tips on what to do and how to play better at my position.”
The coaching staff and veteran players can give as much advice as they like, but for most freshmen one of the best ways to improve is to be consistently challenged in that area.
McKerchie should find her groove soon enough, as MSU’s schedule gives the team no breaks. In the latest four Big Ten teams were included in the Top 25.
McKerchie’s consists of just one assist and four total shots this year, but she does have the capability of exploding offensively.
At Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Mich,, she scored 23 goals and tallied 34 assists her senior season.
Again, she is just a freshman this season and has three more years beyond this one to make her mark at MSU. She has high hopes for her career as a Spartan, both on and off the field.
“Hopefully, this year we can make the NCAA playoffs and maybe win the Big Ten,” she said. “Hopefully over a couple years, I can be on the All-American team and be an All-Academic American, too.”
McKerchie has been a consistency for the Spartans this year, and her play is just one of the factors that has made this an improved team from last year. She may not stick out now, but in three years she could be an important leader on the team and a standout in the conference.