Oakville girls’ soccer team off to 6-1 start

By ROBERT CHALUPNY

For the Call

Despite having a season-opening six game winning streak snapped by Francis Howell in a 2-0 shutout Saturday morning, the Oakville Senior High School girls’ varsity soccer team passed their first test of the 2012 season.

Tigers Head Coach Dave Robben told the Call that Howell disrupted his team’s style of play.

“We had trouble connecting passes. We just couldn’t get into our normal rhythm,” Robben said, adding the Tigers are a possession team that likes to control the ball.

The 6-1 Tigers dominated six of their first seven opponents with wins over Northwest, Seckman, Notre Dame, Mehlville, St. Joseph’s and Hazlewood West.

Not only did the Tigers face some fierce competition, they played seven games in the first 11 days of the season, which is something Robben talked about before the season began.

“We will find out early where we stand,” he told the Call during a preseason interview.

The Tigers certainly have stood tall, outscoring their opponents 18-6 in the first seven games. That can be attributed to a potent offense and and some exceptional goalkeeping.

Ashley Burton leads the team with 17 points on the season, including seven goals and three assists. Lauren Fussel and Chloe Hutcheson are tied for second in points with eight. Each has two goals and four assists.

Goaltender Tina Haberberger is 6-0 on the season, posting two shutouts and allowing only six goals with 42 saves and an .875 save percentage.

Going forward, Oakville will look to hone part of its defensive game plan. Robben believes it gives his squad an advantage to work out the details early in the season.

“We have a good idea of what we need to fix,” he said. “We need to get things straightened out quickly. We would rather face this stuff now than at the other end of the season.”

The Tigers’ schedule is lighter in frequency but not in quality as they were set to take on 4-1 Lafayette Tuesday evening — after the Call went to press.

After Lafayette, the Oakville will host conference rival Lindbergh (1-3-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday.