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“Since not a lot of people came back after the Olympics, I got a lot of one-on-one time with my coach to develop it and the time to work on it and really figure it out,” Laubach said.

Steve Jennings, the American University coach and a 1996 Olympian, says no international team can hope to win an Olympic medal without a proficient drag-flicker.

“None of those top teams could survive without someone who has a very powerful drag flick,” said Jennings. “She has been able to put a threat into the penalty corner.”

Laubach compares herself to Abby Wambach of U.S. soccer fame, due to her role as the primary target off corner kicks. Others felt as if the comparison to a football placekicker was more appropriate.

“It’s like a spiker in volleyball,” said Bodimeade, who won a silver medal with the Australian men’s team in 1992. “Someone who finishes off the points.”

Lauren Crandall, who has known Laubach since they were teammates for two seasons at Wake Forest, said a dangerous drag-flicker opens up other opportunities to score off a penalty corner.

“If she flicks one in, now they’re worried about that, and it opens up the rest of the circle for us to run plays we can score off,” said Crandall.

But a few strong drag flicks doesn’t make a career. Bodimeade insists Laubach wouldn’t be a member of the team if she hadn’t worked on her whole game.

“The competitiveness came forward,” he said. “It’s not just adding the drag flick. The drag flick is the big bonus to us, but her game has overall developed significantly since ‘08.”

She debuted the skill during a U.S. series against world power Argentina in Nov. 2009 and was so successful, scoring four times in five games, a teammate told her: “you just made a goalie cry.”

Jennings says Laubach’s story should serve as inspiration for any athlete who might be dealing with adversity.

“Most young people need to hear that story over and over again,” he said. “You’re not going to get everything the first time.”

For a video showing Laubach practicing her drag flick, go to http://bit.ly/laubach