The last time DePauw (7-5, 2-2,) and Ohio Wesleyan University (9-3-1, 3-0) met in the regular season, the Battling Bishop’s Colton Bloecher dashed the Tigers’ hopes of an undefeated season. His two goals in last October’s game, helped the Battling Bishops hand DePauw their first loss of 2013.
Bloecher was back at on Saturday night, as his goal in the 85th minute propelled his Battling Bishops to a 2-0 win over the Tigers on Saturday night at OWU’s Jay Martin Soccer Comlex.
The frustrating part for the Tigers is that players and coaches alike feel like they outplayed the Battling Bishops in the first half.
“We played great the first 40 [minutes] and average the next 40,” DePauw head coach Brad Hauter said. “OWU pressed us harder in that second 40 and we didn't hold the ball well during that time. Overall it was beneath what we are capable of and so that is disappointing.”
The Tigers led the Battling Bishops in shots on net 4-2 in the first half, but were then outshot 11-4 in the final 45 minutes.
“As a team, we didn’t possess the ball as well as we did in the first half which limited our chances in the second half,” sophomore Zachary Hoffman said.
Bloecher finally broke through late in the game, scoring off of a free kick from just outside the penalty box.
Once the Bishops had the lead, they quickly added an insurance marker on a penalty kick in the 88th minute to put the game away.
The struggles on offense for the Tigers may had to do in some part to the absence of sophomore Mitch Tabler. Without Tabler on the field, Hauter was forced to move sophomore Julian Gonzalez to outside-midfield and senior Michael Deoliveira saw more significant minutes at forward in replacement.
“Obviously being a player shy up front messes with our depth a little,” senior goalkeeper Jake Pezzuto said. “But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have guys that can step into that position.”
The Tigers now sit in fifth in the North Coast Athletic Standings and would not qualify for the conference tournament if the season ended today. To get back into qualifying position, the Tigers will now be forced to jump Denison University in the standings.
Immediately on the mind of the Tigers, however, is their upcoming matchup with Wittenberg University who is still looking for their first conference win.
Coach Hauter is still encouraged by the fact that the Tigers still hold their own fate in their hands.
“Every game is important,” Hauter said. “We still hold the ability to control the ending to the season and it is important to not lose sight of that.”
Kickoff of the crucial NCAC matchup is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Reavis Stadium.