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Eric Peterson, Published November 07 2012

Cobbers soccer player has hobby as 'semi-extreme couponer'

Moorhead - Before the start of each season, Concordia women’s soccer players reveal a fun fact about themselves. That is when Annie Marhula came clean.

“It came to my turn, and I had no idea what to say,” Marhula said with a smile.

“So I said, ‘This summer I became a semi-extreme couponer.’ ”

Marhula first shared that information with her teammates prior to the start of her sophomore season. Now a junior, Marhula is not only a thrifty shopper, but she’s also a stingy player.

Marhula is a starting defender for the Cobbers, who are making a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. Concordia plays Lake Forest (Ill.) at 5 p.m. Saturday in Waverly, Iowa, in the opening round.

“She was sure to make it clear to us that she wasn’t an extreme couponer,” Cobbers head coach Dan Weiler said with a laugh.

Marhula usually carries a plastic bag in her purse that is filled with clipped coupons, evidence of a hobby that she started after watching the TLC show “Extreme Couponing.”

It was two summers ago when she started to get serious about couponing.

In one of her first forays into finding a good deal, Marhula had coupons for every item she purchased during one of her trips to Target. She saved more than $40 on a bill of about $70.

“Once you kind of try and do it, you get kind of addicted to it because you realize how much money you can save,” said the Grand Forks Red River High School graduate. “When you do, it’s a really good feeling.”

Marhula said The Krazy Coupon Lady website is one of the places she goes to find deals. Sundays is usually when she will scour newspapers for coupons. She also gets deals from various savings sites sent to her email.

“Sometimes it gets flooded with all these coupon emails,” Marhula said.

Marhula said it’s hard to devote the time needed into couponing during the school year, especially during the soccer season.

“I wish I could do it more often, but it is really time consuming,” she said.

During the summer is when Marhula spends more time on her hobby. She once paid nine cents for a package of pasta.

Prior to this season, Marhula’s couponing once again came up during the fun fact portion of team introductions.

“I said to her, ‘You have coupons in your bag right now?” Weiler said as he recalled the scene. “She smiled and said, ‘Yes.’ ”

Marhula then took out her plastic bag of coupons to show her teammates.

“I would say she is past semi-extreme couponing,” said Concordia junior defender Jessica Scherr. “I mean, she did have the bag right there with her.”

The 5-foot-2 Marhula has developed into a tenacious defender on the Concordia back line. She forged her way into the starting early in the regular season.

“She’s really worked hard,” Scherr said. “She’s worked her way up and got her position.”

With her infectious smile, Marhula has not only proven to be a solid player, but also a good teammate.

“She tends to always be in a good mood,” Weiler said. “She is a fairly goofy kid, which we love. She’s very unique.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com