In a season of highs and lows, the Otters were able to close the season on a high note, capturing their seventh win and fourth place in the South Central Division. The come-from-behind, 3–2 win was full of drama and featured three different goal scorers. The win gave the Otters 21 points on the season with an even 7–7–0 record, matching the team record for wins and highest finish in a season. After a six-match losing streak in June, the Otters were able to close the season with four straight wins and finish in the top half of the toughest division in all of USL League Two.
Traveling to Peachtree City, their longest trip of the year, to close out the regular season, the Otters came out looking to attack but were burned early by a MOBA counterattack in the 10th minute that saw them go up 1–0 on an inch-perfect strike over Jasper Rump (Coker) in goal.
The game became much more open, and the Otters backline of William Stallworth (Montreat), Kelly Gieber (South Oregon), David Evans (Tusculum), and Ethan Bishop (Milligan) frustrated the MOBA attack, breaking up countless attacks with their pressure.
The Otters continued to search for an equalizer, and finally found one just before the first half ended when a set piece fell into the box. After an initial shot and save from the MOBA keeper, David Panter (Hastings) was able to bag his fourth goal of the year, poking the ball home for the 1–1 score going into halftime.
Coming out of the half, both teams were creating chances looking to go in front. In the 54th minute, MOBA earned a dangerous free kick just outside the box. While it was off target, the second ball was called for an Otters hand ball and given as a penalty kick. Rump guessed the right direction but just couldn’t get a fingertip to it to knock it wide as the hosts went back up a goal.
The Otters were not down for long as Nicolas Cortes (Drake) played Bishop into space who drove forward and hit a rocket with his right foot from 40-yards out that pinged off the post and in to level the game once again.
Not satisfied with a draw, the attacking group of Panter, Agu Ortiz (Anderson), and Edin Hernandez (Montevallo), all created good chances in the following minutes. The winner came in the 74th minute, when Bishop forced a turnover at midfield and played the ball to Ashton Taylor (Milligan) who drove into the heart of the MOBA defense. He played the ball off to Hernandez who unselfishly passed to a wide open Jan Gruhn (CSU-Pueblo) for the easy goal.
MOBA were able to muster one last chance, getting in behind the defense before Rump was able to come off his line and make a difficult save and force it away for a corner kick. The win gave Jasper Rump his fifth win of the season, tied with Tyler Pavlet for the most in a single Otters season.
While the season may be over, there are plenty of more Otters activities coming in the fall and spring! Be sure to follow @ottersoccer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check ottersoccer.com to stay up to date on all things Otters throughout the offseason! #FearTheFur