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Tiger soccer loses key player, drops three of four, but has a good week, coach says

April 20, 2005 - It's a rare occasion when a coach says it was a good week after losing three of four games.

Yet Oakville Senior High School girls' head soccer coach Dave Robben will be the first to say that his Tigers found a way to rebound from a disappointing 3-2 loss to Kirkwood Thursday that included the loss of freshman sweeper Nicole Norberg, who's out indefinitely with a knee injury.

"There's not many times that a team will go 1-3 and the coach says that we had a good week," Robben told the Call. "I think that at the end of the (St. Louis Soccer Classic) tournament, we found our hearts and our courage. We've found a new attitude with this team."

Before things got any better for the Tigers (3-4-1, 2-1 Suburban West), they actually got worse as Oakville dropped a 6-0 decision to St. Thomas Aquinas of Overland Park, Kan. St. Thomas Aquinas is ranked second in the country, according to several national polls.

"We went into that game totally hesitant," Robben said. "It was a bad time to go into a game hesitant against the No. 2 team in the country. This team put on a clinic and there's a reason as to why they're ranked No. 2 in the nation."

Oakville rebounded from the loss with a 3-2 victory over Barrington, Ill. on Satur-day.

"I thought that we came back with the traditional Oakville heart and courage in that game," Robben said. "I think that in terms of the teams in our bracket, we had one of the toughest draws of the tournament."

The Tigers jumped onto the scoreboard in the first half of play as junior defender Hillary Scott scored the first goal of the game to give Oakville a 1-0 lead. The goal was Scott's first of the 2005 season.

"Hillary was at the right place at the right time," Robben said. "She had the opportunity available to score and she finished it."

Oakville's second goal of the game came later in the first half of play as junior midfielder Megan Reel scored her first goal of the 2005 campaign.

"Megan was another player who had the opportunity to really come into her own this weekend," Robben said. "She played with a lot of heart and courage."

Oakville senior defender Sara Cook scored the team's game winning goal with a penalty kick to give the Tigers the 3-2 win.

The Tigers' momentum from their win over Barrington unfortunately was put to rest as they dropped a 3-0 decision to Jenks, Okla., which is ranked No. 8 in the nation.

"We actually played really well," Robben said. "We played with a lot of heart and courage and had just 14 players available to play in the game."

Oakville is back in action at 4:15 p.m. today — Thursday, April 21 — as they play host to Suburban West Conference opponent Northwest. The Lions are 4-3 overall with an 0-2 mark in conference play.

"Northwest is one of those feisty teams that's athletic and plays a direct style of game," Robben said. "Now it's going to be a matter of showing what we learned from over this past weekend."

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