Men's soccer opens season strong with win over Hanover

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In 2006, the Tigers fell in their opening game to Case Western Reserve University 1-0 back at their old home on Boswell Field.

Since then, head coach Brad Hauter and the Tigers are 9-0 in season openers, including Tuesday night’s 1-0 win on the road at Hanover College. That’s something he is quick to gloss over, however.

“A little bit of coincidence,” Hauter said. “Preseason is tough on teams in that you can’t polish everything so you have to pick and choose your areas of focus. We’ve been fortunate to pick some foundational pieces that have paid off. Add to it that we have consistently had a great group of high-drive guys, which is the key ingredient.”

The Tigers are lucky they picked up on those pieces, because opening-day wins haven’t been the easiest.

Since 2011, all of DePauw’s openers have been decided by a single goal. In 2011 and 2012, both games went into overtime.

Despite the close calls, the Tigers are happy to have gotten off to a good start in 2015.

“It feels great to get that first win,” senior goalkeeper Chris Yount said. “Even though we may have started slow, once we got into the game, everything started clicking for us.”

The lone goal for the Tigers came early on in the 16th minute. Senior Mitch Reavis played a ball out wide to his classmate Alieu Musa, and then found junior Julian Gonzalez open in the goalmouth.

Of likely his most potent offensive weapon, Hatuer spoke simply. 

“Julian… did what Julian does,” Hatuer said.

“I was at the right place at the right time and touched it in,” Gonzalez said.

While Gonzalez took care of the offense, Yount made an impression in his first start as the Tigers’ featured goalkeeper. En route to the shutout, Yount made four saves for the Tigers.

The senior will finally have a chance to shine after the Tigers lost long-time goalkeeper Jake Pezzuto to graduation. After riding the bench for the last two seasons as Pezzuto held onto the starting job, Yount will see most of the minutes in net.

“Great goalkeeper and great leader,” Hauter said. “Looked like a four-year starter [Tuesday].”  

He may have looked like one, but there were some nerves for his first game as the Tigers starting goalkeeper.

“There were definitely a few nerves but once the game starts they all go away,” Yount said. “When you have a good team in front of you, it makes the game a lot easier.”

The Tigers will now move on to the Raven / Quaker classic where they will face Earlham College and Anderson University over the weekend, before returning to Greencastle and hosting Franklin College in their home opener.

“Ideally they will play our game.” Yount said, “and we can come out of the weekend with two more wins.”