No Morrison, no problem for Tigers in Saturday's win


It was far from perfect, but the Tigers got the job done as they visited Principia College on Saturday evening.

A 1-0 win over a team still searching for their first win might not look that impressive, but it was a crucial step in the right direction for the Tigers (2-2-1, 0-0) who have struggled as of late.

“Winning is a great medicine and allows tensions and anxieties to find perspective,” DePauw head coach Brad Hauter said after Saturday’s shaky outing.

The Tigers’ lone goal came off of a penalty from junior Adrian Ables. After a DePauw shot deflected into the net off of a defenders hand, the referees disallowed the goal and forced the Tigers to attempt a penalty. Luckily, Ables was put the ball in for a second time and gave the Tigers all the offense they would need.

“Adrian knew he had to carry us a bit up top as he was the most veteran attacker on the field,” Hauter said. “I love seeing when guys know, understand and do not shy away from big moments.”

The final stats were not kind to DePauw. Despite outshooting the Panthers 11-9, senior goalkeeper Jake Pezzuto was called upon to make six saves including five in the final 45 minutes, while the offense only challenged Principia keeper, Matt Jones, twice.

All this, however, came without arguably DePauw’s best two offensive threats, senior Andy Morrison and sophomore Julian Gonzalez.

Morrison missed his first game of the season when a hamstring injury sustained in Wednesday’s loss to Franklin College was too much to play through.

“I hate sitting out anytime but I just need to make sure I don’t make it worse or cause it to nag the rest of the season,” Morrison said.

Getting Morrison healthy and back on the field could be a key event if the Tigers are going to turn around what has been a slow start to the year.

After squeaking out a 1-0 win over John Carroll University in the opener, the Tigers fell in double overtime to Ohio Northern University and were upset by Franklin.

“[This win] shows the mental toughness of this group,” Hauter said. “The challenges and setbacks we've created early in this season can destroy a mentally weak team.”

Next up for the Tigers is Hanover College in the home-opener and first regular season men’s event held at Reavis Stadium on Wednesday night.

Morrison’s status is still unclear as kickoff approaches.

“I’m hoping to [play],” Morrison said on Sunday. “It’s so day to day though. So it will probably be a last minute decision."

Hauter still hasn’t made up his mind whether or not it’ll be safe for Morrison to take the field.

“He's probably 50/50 in his mind for Wednesday,” Hauter said. “Once I meet with our training staff [today] I will know my tolerance for that risk.”

"I'd rather see him rest so that he can last longer throughout the season, but as a team, it's a good experience for everyone to go without our top scoreres," Adrian Ables said. "That way when [Morrison and Gonzalez] return, we can get better results."

The Tigers will likely need all the help they can get against the Panthers, as goal scoring has been an issue for them. The team has scored only four goals this year, with two of them delivered by Morrison’s foot.

Even further down the road is a crucial matchup with undefeated Thomas More College at Reavis Stadium on Friday evening. A win in that game could go a long way to erasing the memories from a resume crippling loss to Franklin last week.

“Our big picture goals are to win the NCAC and to bring DePauw a national championship in soccer,” Hauter said. “Both of those are still on the table.”