Oakville Tigers win district soccer championship

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Like two gunslingers from Wild West, the Oakville and Mehlville senior high school soccer teams met at sunset last week and only one survived the Class 3, District 3 Tournament.

Oakville prevailed 1-0 to advance to the state sectional game Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

Mehlville (18-6-1, 5-3 Suburban West) came into the Nov. 2 district championship game after winning six of its last seven games. Oakville (17-7-2, 6-1-1 Suburban West) had won five of its last six. The last time the two teams met in a district championship game was in 2003, when the Panthers handed the Tigers a 5-3 loss.

Mehlville Senior High School head coach Tom Harper knew that this year’s district championship would be a rough affair for both teams.

“We knew going in that it was pretty much going to be an even match,” Harper told the Call. “It was a tough match-up, and both teams played their hearts out.”

Both teams battled to a 0-0 stalemate in the first half. But it was Oakville’s Peter Hwang who scored the first and eventual game-winning goal about 15 minutes into the second half to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Jake Pittroff received the assist on Hwang’s goal.

“Right around the time of the SLUH tournament, we moved Jake into a full midfielder role where he had the freedom to roam the field,” Oakville head coach Dave Robben told the Call. “Peter’s been getting a lot of balls from Jake and has done a really good job at finishing off those plays.”

Oakville’s Ken Cooper recorded his ninth shutout of the season in the 1-0 win over Mehlville. The senior goalkeeper is currently 14-6-2 this season with a 0.89 goals- against average.

“They (Mehlville) had a couple of opportunities to score, but Ken was able to cut down the angles and get a hold of some loose balls,” Robben said. “He really kept us in the game.”

Mehlville loses seven seniors — Tony Dittmann, Eldin Duderija, Chris Efthim, Brett Gregory, Fabio Manzella, Brad Mor-rison and Almin Sabotic — to graduation.

“We lose a great group of seniors that has a great amount of leadership as well as a good amount of talent,” Harper said. “We hope that a little bit of that leadership and talent rubs off on next year’s team.”

The win for Oakville means the Tigers were scheduled to face conference opponent Lafayette (18-3-3, 6-1-1 Suburban West) in the state sectional game. The Lancers are riding a nine-game winning streak, which includes last week’s 2-1 win over CBC in the District 4 championship game. Oakville and Lafayette met Sept. 12, when the Tigers defeated the Lancers 2-1 at home.