Falling to Kenyon College on Wednesday, the DePauw University men’s soccer team lost their chance at an automatic NCAA bid only to be rewarded with an at-large bid on Monday.
The Tigers fell to the Kenyon Lords in North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) semifinals, 4-1.
The Tigers started off the game hot, tallying an early goal from senior forward Jay Wheeler. Senior midfielder EJ Moore set the ball in the box off a free kick and Wheeler was able to tap the ball in the net for an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute of play.
Following the goal, the Lords picked up play and exploited the Tiger’s back line. Kenyon leveled the score in the 19th minute with a goal from Tony Amolo. Just two minutes later, the Lords would find the back of the net off a header from a throw-in. The halftime whistle blew with the score being 2-1 in favor of the Lords.
Kenyon was able to keep up the pressure in the second half, delivering two more goals. In the 61st minute, Josh Lee of the Lords dribbled past Tiger defenders and found the back of the net. Six minutes later, Brice Koval, scored the game winner in the 67th minute. The match ended 4-1 and so did the Tigers’ hope at an NCAC Tournament Championship.
DePauw entered the match as the No. 4 seed in the tournament, while the Lords came in as the first seed. The winner of the tournament is guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament. The loss meant the team’s fate would lie in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.
“The goals we gave up are uncharacteristic of us and are scenarios we typically handle well and in this moment we mishandled them,” Coach Brad Hauter said. “This team has handled adversity better than any I've worked with and I expect them to respond in the dynamic way they have all year.”
Luckily for the Tigers, the loss did mean the end of the season. On Monday, the NCAA selection committee gave DePauw an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship. The Tiger’s will host Centre College (14-5) on Saturday in a rematch that the Colonels won 3-2 in overtime earlier this season.
“I mean it's obviously, it's a great feeling. Every teams goal at the end of the regular season is to get a chance playing in November,” said junior midfielder, Tommy Hinkebein. “We are glad to have made it, but realize from here there are no easy games.”
Kick-off for the match is 5 p.m. in Reavis Stadium.