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Thursday, October 21, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 43

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A speeding bullet

Repp's will to win allows her to assert leadership in Cougars

By Jason Caesar Consolacion
Daily Cougar Staff

At first sight, UH soccer team defenseman Laura Repp looks like a sweet, shy and soft-spoken young lady. Her 5-2 frame makes that argument easier to believe.

But on the field, Repp is a warrior. Her stats don't show up on the box score. In fact, most of what she does on the field isn't recorded. Instead of making her presence known on a stat sheet, Repp's fierce play is displayed by her competitiveness and her undying will to win.


Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar


Sophomore defenseman Laura Repp is one of teh vocal leaders of the UH women's soccer team.

"Laura's always been a natural leader," UH head soccer coach Chris Huston said. "She's got a lot of confidence, she's a very good player, and one of her strengths is the verbal directions that she can give."

Appointed as one of the leaders on the team, she is constantly encouraging her teammates to play harder and without hesitation, voicing her displeasure if one of her fellow Cougars misses a step.

"I think that our team as a whole is missing some leadership," Repp said. "I've always been a dominant, talkative person. Coach Huston has asked me and Kara (Bullinger) to step up in particular and try to put leadership into other players."

Hailing from Cedar Hill, a town 30 minutes south of Dallas, Repp, whose nickname "Bullet" was given to her when she was 10 years old because she was strong and aggressive, was a regular on the club soccer scene.

She led the D'Feeters '80 club, a club team in Dallas, to the 1994 State Championship and appeared in the 1997 State Cup Finals with the team, which was coached by Bill Borlang.

"I loved working with (Borlang)," Repp said. "He was almost like a second father to me. He wasn't a militant coach. He was very easygoing and he helped me continue to enjoy the game. He coached me through all the years I was with the D'Feeters and I think that was the most important part of it.

"I think stability is very important. We had the same team and the same coach every year. We played with each other every year and I think that's what made us so successful and that's what made the experience so good for me," Repp said.

High school soccer wasn't one of the biggest agendas in Repp's career. Since more of the scouts and recruiters showed up at club games, soccer at Cedar Hill High School was something Repp did for fun.

"High school soccer isn't a huge deal," she said. "You don't really get recruited from there like you do in high school football. But, we had a good team for our district. It was just something I did because it was fun."

In 1997, she earned District 13-4A MVP honors and was a four-time first-team all-district performer at Cedar Hill. She was also named the school's Most Aggressive Player in 1996.

In 1998, she was named the tournament MVP and was a member of the all-tournament team at the 1998 John Tyler Soccer Tournament.

Last season, the inaugural season of the UH women's soccer team, Repp was unsure what the season would bring.

"As a team, we didn't know what to expect last year," Repp said. "We knew we had the talent, but we just didn't know what to expect. It was kind of frustrating at first. But as soon as we won our first game, we knew in our hearts for sure that we could handle it."

Repp turned out to be one of the best defensive players in Conference USA. She helped the team allow an average of only one goal in conference play.

Repp was named C-USA's Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 2, 1998. She also earned a Soccer Buzz honorable mention All-National team honors.

"I had a feeling about last year's team," Repp said. "I expected us to do well. I looked at this year as a stepping stone from last year. I just feel that if we keep winning, it's not enough to earn the respect from other coaches and teams.

"We should be beating the teams we're supposed to beat by a lot. It's not always about winning, but about how we win, maybe blowing (opponents) out of the water just to prove that they're not at our level."

This season has been a great second year for the soccer team. Repp and the Cougars have bounced back from an 0-3 start to compile a 9-6 record (7-1 in C-USA).

However, the loss of goalkeeper Michelle Denommé was a tough blow for the team, especially for a player like Repp, who plays on the defensive side of the field.

"It affects me a lot," Repp said. "It affects the team, of course, but Michelle and I were eye to eye on everything. We could predict each other's moves. We just knew how each other played."

Repp's attitude and confidence in her game is strong enough to overcome the loss of Denommé. Sophomore Susan Barra has replaced Denommé's goalkeeper duties, but it is evident that the whole team has been forced into a learning experience in the tail end of the season.

However, and even more so now, much of the work on defense is the responsibility of Repp and fellow defenseman Ashley Fortenberry.

"I have all the confidence in Sue (Barra)," Repp said. "The biggest difference is just that she and I aren't seeing eye to eye yet. We've had meetings and we've talked a lot about it. We're trying to do the best we can right now."

Repp is the complete team player. Her will to win is combined with her knowledge of the game and the team aspect of the sport of soccer.

"(Soccer) is not like track," Repp said. "Track is totally individual. But soccer is everyone. It's the whole team. Every single play counts.

"If you don't put 120 percent on that one play, it could be passed down the line to the forward and the forward could take a shot," Repp said. "And it's not Sue's fault that the goal goes in. It's the team's fault."

The Cougars' eight-game winning streak was put to an end on Sunday with a key conference loss to Alabama-Birmingham. However, Repp believes that she and her teammates are ready to get back on the winning track.

"Everyone wants to win," she said. "Yeah, we lost Sunday, but I think it was a good loss because hopefully it will wake some people up. We've been winning and people expect us to win. I think that we've gotten kind of lackadaisical.

"Everyone was very upset about (the loss). We came into the (UAB) game expecting to win, but the performance level wasn't at the level that we needed to win," she said.

"I think that in the last games, we should have won," Repp said. "We should have beaten UAB. Now, these last four games are games where the competition is equal with us, so that will be a test to see that we need to step up above that."

Repp has expectations for herself and the team for the remainder of the season. And, of course, those expectations are very high.

"I know we can go all the way (to a C-USA title)," she said. "I want to go all the way, but I think people are little bit shaky right now. The injuries (stink), but it gives us a chance to come together a lot more.

"We've got to take what we've been dealt and deal with it and see who really wants to go all the way, who wants to win, who wants to do more work than they have to do," she said.

Repp, a communications major, shares a great relationship with her family, especially her sister, and would like to someday be a news anchor.

"I love the game," she said, "and I'll probably play outside of school a little bit. But I'm not exactly sure what I want to do after school. I want to be a news anchor and do something in broadcasting. I know I'll have to work my way up.

"I don't expect anything to be handed to me, but I'm not really that worried about it," Repp said. "Anybody can tell me I can't do something, but if I want to do it, I'm gonna do it."
 

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