Katherine Roberts watched from the stands at Davis Field as the Idaho State Bengals women’s soccer team won the Conference Championship game in the Big Sky Soccer tournament in 2012. She was a senior in high school and an ISU commit for the following season.
Even though the Century High School senior had made up her mind, the win reinforced that ISU was the place for her.
“They have an expected level to come into,” Roberts said. “I was even more excited because I knew that a lot was going to be expected of me. That challenge was exciting.”
Roberts was a four-year letterwinner in both soccer and basketball and was part of a Century team that was dominant in Idaho’s 4A soccer classification.
“You walk into a program and you are expected to have everything ready and good to go,” Roberts said. “I think some of the older players helped me step into that role, which prepared me to play here.”
Roberts saw significant playtime early in her Bengal career, as she appeared in 14 of the 17 games her freshman season, starting in five of them.
“I was nervous,” Roberts said. “But I came in and embraced my role the best I could and did everything I could to help the team out.”
Roberts’ first collegiate game was something that she would never forget as the hometown girl finally put on her hometown jersey and played against the players she idolized growing up from the stands at Davis Field.
ISU was playing its alumni game, where the current soccer team plays a friendly against ISU’s past soccer players. The most memorable part for Roberts, was putting on the retro Nike jerseys.
“The first time I put that on I was so excited,” Roberts said. “Stepping on the field, I knew I was ready to play.”
The history of Davis Field has lead Roberts to say that Davis Field is her favorite facility to play in.
“It just has a lot of history,” Roberts said. “I love that the track team is here with us and we share it and get along really well.”
Roberts’ sophomore season brought more responsibility, starting in 19 of the 20 games. Roberts stepped up, finishing third on the team in goals, including the biggest goal of her collegiate career.
Roberts scored the game-winning goal against top-seeded Montana in the 76th minute to send the Bengals to the Big Sky Championship game. Allyssa Kenney, who is now graduated, put a shot on net that deflected in Roberts’ direction. With a defender in her pocket, Roberts won the race to the ball and buried the game-winning goal from eight feet out.
“You are nervous because there is still time left so you have to protect your goal,” Roberts said. “When the final whistle blew, [I was] feeling good.”
The Bengals lost in the championship game to Northern Arizona, but Roberts still took a lot of positives out of the experience.
“I think I had more confidence coming out of my sophomore year,” Roberts said. “Being in a championship tournament helps you understand what it takes to get there. I think every loss and every win you grow from and that just makes you a better player.”
The growing period would have to be put on hold for Robert’s junior season, as she missed the 2015 campaign due to a stress-fracture in her right femur, which ended her season.
“I feel great,” Roberts said. “I took the time off that I needed to, got back into it and I feel awesome.”
Despite missing the entire season, Roberts says she is better mentally and physically.
“I think my injury made me stronger both on and off the field,” Roberts said. “Being away from the game makes you want it more.”
With the stress fracture, Roberts hit the pool. By swimming, Roberts was able to stay in shape.
“Coming back physically, I just knew I needed to work on my touches again,” Roberts said. “I feel most confident when my touch is on. That was the most important thing for me, was to get my touches back and feel confident in the player that I am.”
Once Roberts was able to run instead of swim is when she says she started to regain her confidence.
“The moment I got to run,” Roberts said. “The moment I got to actually do something with a soccer ball.”
Now in her redshirt junior season, Roberts was voted as a team captain and she plans to use the extra year to get a double-concentration, something she would not have done had she avoided injury.
“I love playing with my teammates and I love working hard every day,” Roberts said. “That is something that I strive to do.”