The Tigers’ home game-winning streak ended after a 0-2 loss against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops on Monday, Oct. 22.
The Bishops set the pace of the game from the kick-off. Their defensive line kept pushing forward and pressed strong to gain possession. The guests played short balls to take advantage of the gap among the Tigers’ defenders, but they did not find a clear chance to capitalize.
In the 36th minute, Ohio Wesleyan broke the deadlock. From a through ball on the left wing, Brody Kanally got between the Tigers’ center backs and took a low shot to the left corner. Senior goalkeeper Dylan Ruzbasan touched his fingertips on the ball, but could not stop the first goal.
DePauw continued to get stuck offensively for the rest of the first half. Four minutes before half-time, the hosts had their first chance. After a good ball cover, senior Sam Kramer faced off with the goalkeeper, but he could not curve the ball into the far corner. The first 45 minutes ended 1-0 in favor of the Bishops.
Substitutes checked in for DePauw in the second half, but they could not find the rhythm. Ohio’s aggressive play style broke Tigers’s attacks right from the midfield. “Finding the ball was hard because they were a very good team,” said senior Nicholas Carlson. “So, we had to play a different type of game than we were used to.”
The guests’ strikers continued to put pressure on Tigers’ backline, forcing them to make clearances. Senior Jay Klein, one of the key players on the offensive end, was usually targeted by at least two defenders and could not run counter attacks from long balls.
The Bishops doubled their lead in the 71st minute. After two consecutive one-touch passes, the ball slipped through the Tigers’ defense and came to Ryan Roberts. He beat Ruzbasan with a low right-foot shot.
With a two-goal deficit, Tigers fought back to find the consolation goal. The attacks focused on both wings, and high crosses were used to find a header inside. However, they did not execute well enough to get through the Bishop’s dense defense. The game ended with a final score of 2-0 for the visitors.
“We were missing the final piece in the attacking third,” coach Brad Hauter said in a post-game interview. “I like the chances we created but thought we could’ve been better on the final ball.”
“OWU outplayed us plain and simple,” Klein said. “We weren’t dangerous enough in our attack and they had more scoring chances.”
The stats showed an impressive performance by the visitors, with a total of 13 shots compared to 6 from DePauw.
With this first home loss, the Tigers now tie with three other teams in the NCAC ranking, competing for the final spots in the postseason. “We still hold complete control over whether or not we make the conference tournament,” Klein said. “We need to come out strong these next 3 games to beat three very good NCAC teams.”
The Tigers will play next at Allegheny College on Oct. 26 at 12 p.m.