Larkin uses experience to help team, build program

Junior goalkeeper Miranda Larkin, who transferred from Oklahoma, has helped K-State earn its first two wins. (Photo Courtesy of K-State Athletics)

Junior goalkeeper Miranda Larkin may not be the oldest member of the Kansas State soccer team, but if you asked her, she might tell you she sees herself that way.

“I probably would play more of the mom role of the team, just sending out reminders constantly and stuff like that,” Larkin said. “That’s what I do.”

Larkin said she first realized she wanted to play goalkeeper when she was put in net around age 10 for another girl who was struggling.

“I haven’t let go of it since,” Larkin said.

Larkin attended high school in Rockwall, Texas, and was listed as an ESPN Top 150 recruit coming out of high school.

After graduation, Larkin attended Oklahoma University, where she played in four games during the 2013 season before redshirting in 2014. She then decided to transfer to K-State.

“I was really excited about the soccer opportunities at K-State,” Larkin said. “Coming on a visit here, (and) meeting with the coaches, I just got really excited about the program and building this program. It was a great opportunity, and I took it.”

Head coach Mike Dibbini said he has been impressed with Larkin’s patience and how she’s remained composed through the process of starting the new soccer program at K-State.

“She’s always competitive and she has that experience,” Dibbini said. “It’s just more of understanding that it’s a process, and she reminds the team and reminds herself that as we’re going through this process and staying competitive that it’s going to be a process.”

Redshirt sophomore defender Haley Sutter plays near Larkin on the pitch, and said Larkin’s experience at OU has helped other members of the team, and not just on the field.

“Off the field, she’s like a mother to all of us,” Sutter said. “She’s one of the oldest on the team, so she kind of takes us in under her wing. She’s been doing this longer than us so she kind of acts like a parent figure to us.”

Dibbini said that while all three goalkeepers on the Wildcat roster are good, Larkin’s experience at OU definitely shows.

“She brings the experience factor,” Dibbini said. “Playing at the Big 12 level, an obviously high level and being around it for a few years before her transfer here, helps her out quite a bit because she’s gone through the adversity of knowing what it takes and facing those types of opponents. I would say that in itself speaks volumes.”

Dibbini said Larkin is a leader both on and off the field.

“She does a lot for us to keep us moving in the right direction,” Dibbini said. “She’s one of our captains and she knows what it takes to play at this level, so she shares a lot of her experiences.

Sutter said Larkin helps direct things for the team, often helping them start plays. She also said Larkin is very good at talking to defenders and is extremely confident.

“She gets us comfortable on the ball,” Sutter said. “I thrive off her confidence.”

That confidence has not only benefited her teammates, but has helped her wrack up imposing statistics this season.

In the six games Larkin has started this season, she has earned shutouts in three of them, good for No. 30 in the nation in that category. She has also recorded a .892 save percentage, which ranks her No. 23 nationally. She has been the goalkeeper in net during each of K-State’s two wins this season.

Larkin is expected to start when the Wildcats take on the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at 7 p.m. Friday at the K-State Soccer Complex.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.