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Freshman plays key role for Rutgers in first year away from home in Northern Ireland

<p>Northern Ireland native Katie Lamour has played a key role for Rutgers this season, playing in all 10 games so far as a true freshman a few months removed from moving to New Brunswick from her hometown of Belfast.</p>

Northern Ireland native Katie Lamour has played a key role for Rutgers this season, playing in all 10 games so far as a true freshman a few months removed from moving to New Brunswick from her hometown of Belfast.

Belfast may be the largest city in Northern Ireland and the nation’s capital, but the first word Katie Larmour used to describe her hometown is “small.”

The freshman midfielder arrived on the Banks on August 5 after flying more than 3,000 miles away from her roots to become a Scarlet Knight.

Despite being the only foreign newcomer to the team this year, there’s something familiar about Larmour in a Rutgers field hockey jersey for head coach Meredith Civico.

“I look at (Katie) on the field and honestly it feels like she’s been here for a couple years already,” Civico said. “She brings a lot of leadership as a freshman which is really impressive … I think if you look at which players are creating a lot of opportunities for us, Katie’s one of those players.”

Larmour played a key role for the Knights from the jump, starting in all 10 games so far at midfield. She has four goals and two assists on the season and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week at the end of last month.

None of this was part of Larmour's original plan.

The standout rookie didn’t know that New Brunswick would become her second home until just six months ago. After prospects at other NCAA schools didn’t work out, Larmour intended to hold off on making her college decision for the time being.

“I was planning on taking a year off. I wasn’t going to go to Uni right away,” Larmour said. “If I was going to look into (American schools) again, it would be for next year and then this came about … (A mutual friend) got me in contact with (Civico) … And then, the next thing I was visiting and the next thing, I was coming here so it actually kind of happened quite quickly.”

Larmour didn’t commit until mid-May and left home just over two months later bound for New Brunswick. While the other four incoming freshmen could all drive from the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area, Larmour had to fly over six hours across the pond to get to campus for preseason.

Despite the five-hour time difference and the initial shock of moving to a foreign country, Larmour said that August was one of the easier times of her transition.

“I find it hard actually when (the) preseason ended because preseason you’re so busy and every single day you have hockey, but then it kind of slows down a little and I started to think about home,” Larmour said. “But then again, it got easier because all my friends went away to Uni so even if I was home, there’d be no one there.”

Larmour comes from the quintessential field hockey family. Her parents are both veterans of the sport and her 16-year-old younger brother plays both field hockey and rugby, two of the most popular sports in Ireland. The family will reunite at College Park when the team takes on Maryland in the final regular-season game of the year at the end of October.

Five other Rutgers players also hail from foreign countries, ranging from Canada to Australia to the Netherlands. The strong camaraderie between international players on the team has helped Larmour make a seamless transition into her home away from home.

Ontario native Alyssa Bull has been a cornerstone of Knights' midfield for four years now and she says Larmour's presence is a significant addition to team's core.

“Honestly, it’s amazing playing with her. She is such a smart player and coming in as a freshman, you wouldn’t even know that she’s a freshman,” said the senior captain. “She’s a leader and she leads by example already as a freshman. I’m excited to see how she grows over the next three years and I’m a little sad that I wont get to play with her more.”

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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