Bar high for soccer sisters

Sisters Monique and Savannah Lapenta are aiming for the stars. photograph anne simmons
Sisters Monique and Savannah Lapenta are aiming for the stars. photograph anne simmons

Three hours in the car on three school nights is just part of Monique Lapenta's weekly soccer schedule.

The 15-year-old Lavalla Catholic College student travels to Frankston Pines from Yallourn North to captain the under 16s Southern United Football Club team in the Women's National Premier League.

Weekend games can take her as far as Geelong.

"Homework is hard to fit in because if I'm not doing it on the drive up I'm doing it on the way back," Monique said.

"I'm trying to ... think about getting a job. It's like, 'where am I going to fit everything in?' It's really hard."

She and 12-year-old sister Savannah started in the Traralgon City Soccer Club and both are looking to Melbourne Victory in the W-League as a future goal and wearing the green and gold is not off the agenda.

Playing on the Matildas' side "would mean everything" to Monique.

"It's the dream," she said.

Monique moved on to playing for Gippsland FC before going through an extensive trial process to make it to the WNPL.

This is her second year as captain.

"I try to help out as much as I can with the coaching and ... taking the warm up and just helping out and encouraging the girls to do their best," Monique said.

She's known for her speed on the field and has a fearless attitude.

"I can jump high to get the headers," Monique said.

"I'm not afraid to chest the ball where some girls might not do that but I get in there and just give it the best crack.

"I can even go against girls who are way taller than me. I'll just go in there as hard as I do."

Savannah, a student at St Gabriel's Primary School, went through a similar selection process for Southern United's under 12s training development squad as the league extends its

reach to younger age groups this year.

"I'm learning how to become a stronger player and then next year I can try out for under 14s," Savannah said.

The Lapentas have been a sleepy bunch this winter with the FIFA World Cup rocking the normal household routine.

Savannah has taken note of the professionals' skills on the screen and Monique has observed closely different team strategies.

"The way they move with the ball, they just make it all look so easy," Monique said.