Robert heading to next level

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2001


PHOTO: DESTREHAN SWEEPER NATALIE ROBERT has helped the Lady Cats to district titles the last two years. (Staff Photo by Michael Kiral) DESTREHAN – Natalie Robert and the Destrehan Lady Cats have come a long way over the past four years. Robert joined the Lady Cats as a freshman during the 1997-98 season, the program’s second year of existence. Four years later, she has helped the Lady Cats capture consecutive District 10-I championships and advance to the playoffs each of the last two years. Robert, a sweeper, has twice been named the district’s defensive MVP, first in her freshman year, then again last year as a junior. She also added 19 goals and three assists in 1999-2000 as the Lady Cats went 20-7-1 and defeated Dominican, 4-2, for the team’s first ever playoff win. Mandeville edged Destrehan, 1-0, in the regionals. Destrehan repeated its district title this year and again advanced to the bi-district playoffs before losing to Lafayette. “Every year, we have grown in progress,” Robert said. “We stuck together and saw it through to the end.” For Robert, that playoff game will not be her last soccer match. She recently signed a grant in aid with Louisiana-Lafayette and will play collegiate soccer. “It was exciting,” Robert said. “I didn’t know what to expect at first. I think I’m going to enjoy it. I get to continue my career and it’s a step up.” Robert looked at other colleges but decided she didn’t want to leave the state. Plus, Louisiana-Lafayette coach Dave Poggi was her coach in the Olympic Development Program. “I knew that was where I wanted to be,” Robert said of Louisiana-Lafayette. Ironically, Robert will be joining the Louisiana-Lafayette program in its second year of existence. The Ragin’ Cajuns went 2-14 in their inaugural season, 0-6 in the Sun Belt Conference. Robert was one of six players who signed with the team during the recent signing period and was listed as a midfielder/forward. Robert, whom Poggi called a spark plug in a press release, has been the captain for Destrehan the last two years, sharing the duty with Esther Garatie this year. When Garatie went down with an injury this year, Robert knew she had to step up even more. Before a game, she’s the one leading the team through warmups and is a vocal leader on the field as well during games. “Natalie was a major leader with Esther,” Destrehan head coach Joan McClung said. “Natalie knew with Esther gone, she had to fill her shoes and Esther’s shoes. She didn’t take anything less from anybody. She just came in and did what it took.” Now, Robert is looking forward to doing what it takes on the next level. “I know I have work to do and I’m looking forward to getting it done,” Robert said.