The saying “it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish” has become an overused cliche in the world of sports. Nevertheless, it still gives an accurate description of DePauw soccer’s 10-8-1 record in 2014.
Whether it was injuries, upsets or results out of their control, the Tiger just couldn’t sustain any momentum and failed to reach the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.
“There is no one thing to point at,” senior goalkeeper Jake Pezzuto said. “It was a combination of many different things.”
The Tigers struggled immediately out of the gate, splitting their pair of games at the Ohio Northern Invitational. After a 1-0 win over John Carroll University, the Tigers fell 3-2 to the hosts in a double overtime marathon.
The Tigers followed that up with a resume-ruining loss on the road at lowly Franklin College, a team that won fewer than 50 percent of its games.
“The franklin loss put our at large opportunities on life support but didn't end them,” DePauw head coach Brad Hauter said. “What we did after ended them.”
It was then that the Tigers turned things around and showed some promise as they quickly rattled off three straight wins by an overall score of 8-1. After a 1-0 win over Principia College, the Tigers won a rain-soaked affair 5-0 against Hanover College and then defeated Thomas More College in overtime.
After a 1-0 overtime loss to the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, the Tigers defeated Hiram College and blew out Anderson College 9-0.
It was really their play down the stretch that cost the Tigers a chance at moving deeper into postseason play. DePauw won only one of their final five games and went 1-3-1 over the stretch including a bad loss to conference rival Allegheny College.
The season ended for the Tigers when they lost for the second time this season to Ohio Wesleyan University in the first round of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament.
The Tigers will lose six seniors including forward Andy Morrison who finishes his career third on DePauw’s all-time scoring list. It was a down year for Morrison who scored a career-low five goals this year. In an interview, Morrison admitted that he probably rushed back too quickly from a hamstring injury and that could have resulted in his down numbers.
“It's always tough to see a class move on,” Hauter said. “This group won two NCAC championships and made the NCAA tournament twice so they've certainly left a footprint on our program.”
Also leaving is goalkeeper Jake Pezzuto, who has started the last two seasons. In his place will come rising senior Chris Yount to see his first real action of this career.
“We have complete confidence in Yount,” Hauter said. “He's been a great player in our program for 3 years. The fact he played the majority of the OWU match and played great sets the table for a great senior season.”
Hauter and his coaching staff have already begun the process of replacing the six seniors.
“We have already begun working on our 2015 class and have our top 20 identified,” Hauter said. “It is shaping up to be a great class.”
Even though he won’t be here next year, Pezzuto is still confident that the Tigers can turn things around quickly in 2015.
“At the end of the day,” Pezzuto said, “I’m confident that the men’s soccer program will have nothing but success in the future.”