Give an assist to the Reavis Stadium engineers in DePauw University’s 5-0 trouncing of the Hanover College Panthers.
Thanks to the almost 1000 drains located under the artificial playing surface, the Tigers (3-2, 0-0) and Panthers (1-3, 0-0) were able to withstand a lightning and rain delay that lasted over an hour.
“A day like today shows you why you really benefit from having an artificial turf,” DePauw President Brian Casey said during the delay. “We wouldn’t be playing if it was back at Boswell.”
Kickoff, originally scheduled for 6 p.m., was moved up about 15 minutes due to inclement weather. However rain began pelting the crowd of nearly 200 early in the first half.
Fighting through the raindrops the Tigers found their offense for the first time this season.
Sophomore Mitch Tabler was the first to score, tipping in a shot from senior Andy Morrison for his first goal of the season. Tabler then followed up with a second shot, and sophomore E.J. Moore found the back of the net three minutes later to stretch the lead to 3-0.
“It was awesome,” Tabler said. “I’ve been waiting for the floodgates to open and finally good things are happening, so I’m just hoping to keep it going.”
With 1:22 left to play in the first half, DePauw officials called for a stoppage due to lightning strikes too close to the stadium.
“You just have to rely on [the players] professionalism to be ready whenever the whistle blows,” DePauw Head Coach Brad Hauter said. “It was delayed four or five times, so the fact that they were able to respond with two quick goals was impressive.”
It took the weather about an hour to clear up before both teams were allowed to resume play on a field that was slick, but had no standing water.
“You’re up, and you really want to make sure that game finishes, especially when we had some breakout performances,” Hauter said. “Mitch Tabler had a hat trick tonight. E.J. scored a goal. So you’d hate for those things not to count.”
For about five minutes, the Panther’s attempted to get back in the game. They threw extra men forward and were able to posses the ball deep in DePauw territory.
It was the elements that helped Depauw turn things around. Junior Adrian Ables fired a wet ball at Hanover keeper Trevor Korfhagen
that slipped through his gloves and trickled into the back of the net.
Tabler added a goal later on in the half to complete the hat trick and finish off the Panthers.
“First game on Reavis, coming out, winning 5-0, nothing’s better than that,” Tabler said.
This offensive outburst could go a long way to getting a struggling Tigers squad going. Coming into play Wednesday, the team was averaging only one goal per game and their top two goal scorers, senior Andy Morrison and sophomore Julian Gonzalez, had both missed time due to injuries.
Those two players provided Hauter with a dilemma when the teams returned from the delay. With leg injuries, the slick playing surface added a level of danger.
“You have to trust your players,” Hauter said. “They understand, and you have to trust that they understand that the real prize is in November or December, and you don’t want to jeopardize that.”
This win comes at a perfect time for the Tigers, as they face a date with 23rd ranked Thomas More College at Reavis Stadium tonight. A win in this game could help the NCAA selection forget about the Tigers loss to Franklin College a week ago.
“I think as soon as we can put together a full 90 [minutes] and take control from beginning to end, we’re going to be impressive to watch,” Hauter said.
Let’s hope for rain.