Tigers soccer team takes second place in state tournament

By ROBERT CHALUPNY

For the Call

An outstanding playoff run by the Oakville Senior High School boy’s soccer team fell short by just one win when De Smet defeated the Tigers 2-0 Saturday night in the Class 3 State Championship game.

Besides finishing second in the state, both the Tigers and their fans have had plenty to cheer about all season as Oakville’s overall record surged to 21-8-1.

Saturday’s loss snapped a seven-game winning streak that included playoff victories over Mehlville, Vianney, Rockwood Summit, Howell Central and Rock Bridge on Friday.

“Oakville has nothing to be ashamed of. We are very proud of our team and we are very proud of our boys,” Tigers head coach Dave Robben told the Call Saturday night.

Weather may have been a factor in the contest Saturday night, but that didn’t stop the Tigers from putting up a fight.

“We were able to move people around and kind of keep things under control. The wind was a factor in the game,” Robben said. “They had the wind in the first half.

“We were able to make some adjustments and we played much better in the second half,” he said. “We were able to generate some attack. We didn’t play all defense like we were forced to play in the first half.

“But I’m proud of the boys — the way they played.”

Robben also said it was a very physical tournament and the Tigers suffered some key injuries over the weekend.

“Last night’s game was a very physical game against Rock Bridge. We didn’t have two of our starters today (Saturday),” he said. “Mike Munsell wasn’t able to play. Alex Dieckmann wasn’t able to play. Then in tonight’s game, Brian Tate took a shot to the head and he was treated at halftime for a possible concussion.

However, the rest of the team stepped up its game to fill the void left by those injured.

But it just wasn’t enough to get past an excellent De Smet team.

“We had guys that we put on the field that were able to step up and do what they had to do and make a game of it and we did make a game of it. We were able to generate some chances in the second half,” Robben said.

“So the boys have nothing to hang there head about. It was a great season,” he continued. “We made a great run and we played against a good team.

“All those facts take nothing away from the fact that De Smet is an awesome team. Bottom line, I mean they have some outstanding players and we saw that tonight.”

Robben, along with his assistant coaches Kyle Forthaus and Sarah Guenther, is most proud of the growth he has seen in his players, particularly his seniors, throughout the year.

“Numerous times we talked about watching these players grow as not only soccer players, but individuals,” he said. “That’s been the most rewarding aspect of this season was how they were able to come together, play together as a team, individually step up.

“How they were able to make a total commitment and work so hard this year, so I think that would be the most rewarding thing to see is the growth,” the Oakville coach added.