All the key ingredients for a championship-caliber team in 2012 are in the mix for the Oakville Senior High School girls’ soccer squad.
The Tigers, who were 13-7 overall and 5-3 in conference play last season, have 16 members returning from last year, including one goaltender.
Oakville Head Coach Dave Robben told the Call he has the field covered with all of his returning players.
“We have a good mix of veteran players and defenders and a goalkeeper,” he said.
One reason the Tigers have such a large experience pool to draw from is because last season they took several injuries early in the year. That forced them to call up some players to the varsity level to fill the gap, which better prepared them for this season.
Expectations are at their peak as the 2012 Tigers finish preparing for the start of the season, which was set to begin Tuesday night with Oakville hosting Northwest — after the Call went to press.
“Definitely high expectations. It’s probably the first time in some time we have a bunch of hungry girls in this group,” Robben said. “Confident and hungry, so that’s a good combination.”
Players Robben will be rely on for veteran leadership and skilled play include both of the team’s captains Ashley Burton and Lauren Fussell, along with Sara Bommarito, Chloe Hutcheson, Annie Miskovic, Grace Schaper, Emily Pedroli, Erin Brady and Abby Ullo.
Robben said another advantage Oakville has, which can be directly attributed to his team’s experience, is that the Tigers have been able to focus on their game plan earlier than normal.
“After that first week, we made what we call our cuts, so we’ve had two weeks of technical training which put us way ahead of where we would normally be at this point in time,” he said. “We are very excited about what we’ve seen so far. It’s been a good preseason.”
Oakville will be put to the test early though playing seven games in the first week and half of the season.
“We will find out early where we stand,” Robben said.