Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 46

Cougar Comics Online
Top 25/NCAA Football Notebook

Payne Stewart dead at 42

About the Cougar

Barra becomes goalkeeper of her own

Player Profile

By Josh Gajewski
Daily Cougar Staf

UH goalkeeper Susan Barra finally got her chance to start against Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 12, but it wasn't exactly under the best of circumstances. 

In the previous game, senior Michelle Denommé suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in UH's win over Southern Mississippi. The injury ended Denommé's season and forced Barra into the starting role a little earlier than expected. 

Susan Barra

Denommé was having a stellar 1999 campaign before she went down. The team was on a roll as well, winning five straight games -- all in conference -- at the time of the fall.

"We go half the season with Michelle and the same routine and all of a sudden the unexpected happens," sophomore defender Laura Repp said.

Barra was originally slated to take over the starting duties next season, but the sophomore from St. Agnes Academy was thrust into the starting role early, when the team traveled to SFA.

"At SFA I was just a little insecure because I wasn't really on the same page as the defense," Barra said.

But the Cougars beat the Lady Jacks and haven't skipped a beat since. UH is 3-1-1 since Barra took over the starting role. She has posted a 1.85 goals-against-average in 631 minutes of play this season.

Susan Barra (1) is greeted by UH defenseman Melissa Raymer after the Cougars' 2-1 double overtime win against South Florida on Sunday. Barra had eight saves in the game.

Max Lacayo/The Daily Cougar

"She's in a situation that could have been incredibly tough," said coach Chris Huston. "But she's been great all year and has just done an outstanding job."

"(Denommé) is such a great role model," Barra said. "I've been watching tapes of her games and studying how she plays with the team. She's just a great, aggressive goalie."

It's been a learn-as-you-go experience for the UH squad. Not only was the team on such a roll at the time of Denommé's injury, but their toughest stretch of games lay just ahead. North Carolina-Charlotte, South Florida and Saint Louis -- each a serious conference contender -- were all left on the remaining schedule.

"I've had (goalie coach Joe Kirt's) full attention at practice," Barra said. "He's always behind me, yapping behind me all of the time -- but it's really paying off."

Barra earned TAPPS honorable mention all-state honors as a senior at St. Agnes, and was also an all-tournament selection after leading St. Agnes to a fourth place finish at the state tournament in 1998.

"She's done a great job so far," forward Lindsay Beiriger said. "She's earned a lot of respect from the players and coaches."

UH is in the midst of a whirlwind finale to the 1999 season. The team is coming off of two straight double overtime games this past weekend -- a tie against UNC-Charlotte and a win over South Florida.

"I feel like everything that I've been working on as far as getting ready for these games is coming out," Barra said. "Laura (Repp) and I have been able to play well together. We feed off of each other."

UNC-Charlotte's 1-0 loss to St. Louis on Sunday propelled UH into a tie for the top spot in Conference USA, with the team's final conference game slated for Friday against St. Louis at O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. A win could mean the first conference title in UH history.

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