DePauw shocks No. 1 Wittenberg

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Head coach John Carter has said all season that his team never quits.
Thursday evening in the NCAC semifinal was no different.
After a 0-0 halftime score, the DePauw women’s soccer team put up the first goal of the game in the 60th minute then gave up a goal 20 minutes later at Wittenberg University. Not soon after the referee blew the whistle to begin play did the Tigers score again, this time off of a penalty kick. DePauw held on to the 2-1 victory and will proceed to the NCAC championship game Saturday against Denison University (6-10-2) at 2 p.m.
“It was exciting. We found another way to get it done,” Carter said. “We should’ve played better because we went in already having played them a week ago. Our goal was to slow them down and make them play at our pace.”
On Oct. 23, Wittenberg (11-4-3) beat DePauw (6-10-1) 2-1 while outshooting the Tigers 22-9. In Thursday’s game, the final shot tally still favored the Wittenberg, but this time is was 10-7.
Carter attributed his team’s better performance to countering their offense with a different strategy. He employed a low pressure scheme, where his players would go no farther than Wittenberg’s 35-yard line and force them to push through.
This forced Wittenberg to utilize lob passes or long chances.
“There were times when we were not too great at it, and they were able to put some shots on us,” Carter said. “But there was nothing really threatening.”
Early in the second half, DePauw was dealt a huge setback when junior midfielder Angela Cotherman got knocked in the head as she challenged for a header and was taken out of the game. After 15 minutes, The Tigers let off a shot that hit off the goalpost, and sophomore Chloe Jacob buried the ball off the rebound.
“We had 30 minutes left, and [Wittenberg] became more direct,” Carter said. “They had some chances and opportunities.”
DePauw gave its opponent a golden opportunity off of a goal kick. Kayla Murphy tore down the field and beat Tigers’ goalkeeper Emma Cooper to even the score.
Immediately after, it was freshman Meredith Schoenfeld who took on a defender one-on-one. She was fouled in the box, and DePauw was awarded a penalty kick just 24 seconds after Wittenberg’s goal.
Senior Dana Sprague then slotted it in for the go-ahead score.
Carter’s team held on defensively for the final 10 minutes for the program’s first NCAC postseason win.
“It was heart and guts really,” he said. “As I told them, the oyster is open and the pearl is showing. People look at the record, but we played a competitive schedule and lost some tough matches. The girls battled, and they never lost belief. I told them to not listen to anyone. What matters is what we believe and we have to keep fighting.”