Milking it for what it’s worth

Ben Fitch

As a child, mid-fielder Lauren ‘Pippi’ Henry, sold a cow to pay for a trip to a summer soccer camp at Kansas University.

The cow more than paid for the camp, which was fortunate because Pippi’s high school, Blue Valley Randolph, did not, and does not, have a soccer program.

“I grew up with no soccer at all. Now it’s where nothing else matters,” said Pippi.

Even the nickname-the only name many Washburn students know her by-came from her soccer history.

“When I was little I played on the rec team and I always wore braids. If I didn’t wear braids I would sit on the sidelines and cry,” she said. The other players on the team began calling her “Pippi.”

Pippi started playing on a recreational team in Manhattan where she was the only girl on the team. Afterward, she played on clubs in Topeka and eventually Kansas City, where she gained exposure to well-renowned coaches and some of the best players in Kansas. It was there that she began looking at playing soccer for Kansas University. The Lady Blues, however, ended up being the best fit for Pippi.

“Before I came here, it was soccer before school-before life,” she said.

But Washburn has enabled her to coalesce her soccer success with other elements of her life. Pippi is a member of the basketball team and part of Wasburn’s Leadership Institute. She enjoys being a role model on the soccer team and would like to fill the team captain position in succession to Ashley Klone, who she respects.

Pippi has depended on her captain before. Her affliction with hypertension brings her close to passing out when her blood pressure is high. During a running drill at the beginning of the season, Klone helped Pippi finish when she started feeling light headed.

Coach Tim Collins starts the game out with Pippi up front, playing forward, in their current 4-4-2 formulation. Then she is moved to mid-field during the game.

“From a target standpoint, she has great possession and a high soccer IQ,” said Collins. “She has fantastic vision. She is able to look at friends and foes in the mid-field. [Pippi] is a joy to coach because of her approach to the game, and she is a fun person to be around.”

The once psychology-now English major will start the basketball season in November.