Oakville girls soccer team clinches share of conference title

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Although the Oakville Senior High School girls’ soccer team clinched a share of the Suburban West Conference championship early last week by defeating Mar-quette, the Tigers got a cold dose of reality Saturday.

The Tigers (12-5-2, 6-0-1 Suburban West) posted wins over Marquette (3-1) and Hazelwood West (3-0) early last week, but suffered their worst defeat of the season Saturday with a 3-0 loss to St. Joseph’s Academy.

“We had a good week up until today,” Oakville head coach Dave Robben told the Call Saturday. “We can’t give up three goals against St. Joe’s and then try to come back against them.

“But to our kids’ credit, we really picked things up in the second half and played a lot smarter and with more intensity.”

Oakville’s loss to St. Joseph’s mirrors last season’s 3-0 defeat to the Angels nearly a year ago. But it was after that loss to St. Joseph’s that Oakville won six of its next seven games and advanced to the semifinal of the state championships before falling 3-0 to Incarnate Word Academy.

The Tigers will close the 2006 regular season today — May 11 — at Francis Howell North.

“Howell North is always a well-coached team,” Robben noted. “They always have given us a close game over the last several seasons.”

Francis Howell North is 12-4-3 overall with a 2-1-3 record in the Gateway Athletic Conference’s South Division. The Knights put together an impressive 12-game un-beaten streak before losing to Lafayette 1-0 April 29. The Knights have a potent 1-2 scoring combination in senior forwards Ashley and Rachel Tankersley.

Ashley Tankersley currently has 13 goals and nine assists this season, while Rachel Tankersley has seven goals and six assists.

Robben knows that for the Tigers to be successful against the Knights, they’ll have to shut down the Tankersley twins.

“They’re a handful,” Robben explained. “Francis Howell North’s style of play is somewhat similar to ours. This is going to be an excellent opportunity for us to get ready for the playoffs.”

Oakville’s non-conference game at Francis Howell North begins at 6 p.m.