Tuesday, September 21, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 21

Cougar Comics Online
Sports Opinion

NCAA/Top 25 Notebook

Player Profile: Jennifer Wittenburg

About the Cougar

Bullinger brings roaring game to soccer team

By Nicole Jansen
Daily Cougar Staff 

She's shy and takes her time to consider each question before speaking.

Who would guess that someone so quiet could make a deafening roar on the soccer field?

In her first season with UH soccer team, Kara Bullinger racked up 13 points in 19 games and had a .093 shot percentage, but that doesn't even concern her.

"I don't really pay attention to the points," she said. "I work 100 percent and whoever gets the points doesn't really matter, as long as we win."

Bullinger played many sports when she was young, but decided to focus her attention on soccer when she began high school.

The midfielder is from Kingwood where she was selected to the first-team all-district 21-5A, and was picked for the Olympic Development Program three years in a row.

She was recruited by Texas, Texas Tech, LSU and TCU, but chose UH because of coach Chris Huston and the facilities, even though she didn't know what to expect from a first-year team.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Kara Bullinger (4), shown here in this weekend's 1-0 overtime win against Marquette, adds talent and a lot of heart ot the UH women's soccer team.

The makings of a rivalry may be at hand. The Cougars beat Marquette Sunday (1-0) to improve their record to 3-8.

Marquette has proven to be a tough competitor, and many never thought UH could beat them last year, let alone two years in a row.

Imagine the surprise of both teams when the Cougars beat the then No. 23-ranked team 2-1 in 1998 and defeated them once again this year. Determination truly goes a long way for this UH team.

"We just played our hearts out," said Bullinger. "You could tell we wanted to win more than they did. Sometimes that's what a game comes down to.

"(Against) every team we played (last year), we had more heart in the game than they did and it's still there this year because we still have a lot to prove."

After last year's finish of 11-8, UH has a tougher schedule this season and is slated to finish seventh, but Bullinger sees this as a chance to prove how much drive this team actually possesses.

If numbers could speak, Bullinger's from last year would be screaming. She had two game-winning goals, was tied for second among all Conference USA freshman during the regular season with five assists and had 43 shots on goal for the UH squad last season.

The sophomore has proven herself to be a consistent player by posting similar numbers in her two seasons at UH. With just eight games under her belt this year, her shot percentage is nearly the same as her 1998 total. 

Bullinger played soccer over the summer with more advanced players in order to enhance her skills. Not only has her game improved physically after her first season, but it has excelled mentally.

"Collegiate soccer is different because you can psyche yourself out of a game easily," she said. "I guess I'm stronger this year just from being through a whole season. It's easier this year because I know how to prepare myself."

The Cougar soccer coaching squad speaks highly of Bullinger's abilities.

"She's stepped up this year," UH head soccer coach Chris Huston said. "She's definitely one of the top leaders on and off the field."

"She's a leader that demands the ball," said assistant coach Bill Solberg, "and she's going to be our key person in midfield."

The Cougars have 11 games left in the regular season. After their victory against Marquette, they should be fired up for their away game at Louisville 7 p.m. on Friday.

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