Tigers kick open door to state Final Four, beat Hazelwood West soccer team 4-1
June 01, 2005 - Like the predator that their mascot was named after, the Oakville Senior High School girls' soccer team has lunged from the bushes and attacked its prey virtually unnoticed.
The Tigers (16-8-1, 6-1-1 Suburban West) have quietly taken down some of the area's best public schools this season, including a 4-1 victory over Hazelwood West in the state quarterfinal last Saturday. The win puts the Tigers in the state semifinal game this Friday against Incarnate Word Aca-demy.
According to head coach Dave Robben, one of his players knew the Tigers would make it to the Final Four this season.
"The way the brackets were drawn up for this year back in December, one of the players (Megan Reel) came into my classroom and said that we were going to go to the Final Four this season," Robben told the Call. "There then was this window of opportunity where we wouldn't play a private school until the Final Four this season. We then began building this team at the beginning of the season for this run."
The win for Oakville not only avenged a 1-0 loss to Hazelwood West back in April, but it also extended the team's five-game winning streak.
Robben believes Oakville's loss to Hazel-wood West early last month, actually marked a turning point in the Tiger's season.
"When we lost to them it was a turning point for us," he said. "It was that night that we talked as a team and started putting things together. We knew we had to shut (Hazelwood West's) Coreen Roark down and Jenna Milward did a great job at covering her. Everyone played really well for each other."
Oakville jumped onto the scoreboard in the first half of play as freshman Jasmina Suljic scored her eighth goal of the season at the 32-minute mark.
"They (Hazelwood West) came at us really strong and when she scored, you could really see it in our play," Robben said. "Our first goal was huge and was a confidence factor for us."
The Tigers extended their lead in the second half as sophomore Megan Flecke notched her sixth goal of the 2005 campaign.
"Flecke's goal really took the pressure off of us," Robben said. "At that point, going up 2-0 really relaxed us."
Oakville tallied another goal at the eight minute mark of the second half as Brooke Inman recorded goal No. 8 of the year.
"Brooke's goal was another nice goal," Robben said. "It came off a nice pass from Megan Reel."
After a goal by Hazelwood West later in the half, Flecke notched her second goal of the night to give the Tigers a 4-1 victory.
"The goal came off a restart where (Megan) Wingenbach served the ball in and Flecke ran on to it and buried it in the net."
Oakville battles Incarnate Word Academy in the state semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday at the Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton.
The Red Knights and the Tigers know each other well. Incarnate Word eliminated Oakville from the state playoffs last season with a 3-0 victory in the state sectional.
Incarnate Word is 14-3-1 overall this season and is coming off a 5-0 win over Fran-cis Howell.
"Incarnate Word is obviously a strong team and I had a chance to watch them before we played and they're playing really well," Robben said.
"They dismantled Francis Howell 5-0 and they're certainly going to be a worthy opponent," he said.
But the Tigers have gone unnoticed for most of the season, so the pressure could be on the Red Knights to produce a win.
"We've been flying under the radar all season and the pressure is going to be on them," Robben said.
"We have nothing to lose and everything to gain," he said.