Tigers learning despite losing record

By Stephen Glover

When taking a quick glance at the overall record of the boys’ soccer team at Oakville Senior High School, you would first assume that they’re having a down year.

Dave Robben, the Tigers’ head coach is quick to point out that it’s not about what your record is during the season, it’s what you’ve learned during the season and how you do in the postseason.

“It’s been kind of a steep learning curve for us recently,” Robben told the Call. “The kids have showed a lot of heart and courage and it’s starting to pay off. It looks like we’ve finally gotten over the top.”

The Tigers (11-9, 3-2 Suburban South) have lost four of their last five games but their 4-0 blanking of Belleville (Ill.) East was a good sign of the team’s progress according to Robben.

“We were clicking on all cylinders by the second half of the game,” Robben said. “The team’s patience and persistence has really paid off. I think that the team’s sensing that they’re all in this together.”

Sophomore midfielder A.J. Bram scored Oakville’s lone goal in the first half of play with senior forward Kevin Marchi making the assist. Robben has noticed the sophomore’s progress this season and beginning to like what he’s seeing.

“It’s been a learning curve this year for A.J,” Robben said. “From game to game he’s really coming along. He’s really got a knack for putting a striker behind the defender.”

Marchi notched Oakville’s second goal of the game in the second half of action and tagged on another goal late in the game.

“Kevin’s been really patient and persistent in his efforts this season,” Robben said. “It looks like it’s finally paying off.”

Senior midfielder Brett Williams scored Oakville’s third goal of the game on a penalty kick. The goal was William’s eighth of the 2003 campaign.

“I think we have a greater and stronger presence in the midfield with him there,” Robben said. “He’s the one that’s really been driving us forward.”

The Tigers are back in action at 6:30 p.m. today — Oct. 23 — as they travel to Parkway North for an important Suburban South Conference match against the Vi-kings.

“If we have any interest in the conference championship, this is going to be a critical game for us Robben said. “We have some good teams to play and come time for districts, we should be ready to play.”