The 2018 season saw the Otters have their most successful year on the field after finishing fifth in the Deep South Division with a 5-7-2 record. The team was led by the offense, shattering every single offensive record by both the team and individuals. The Otters were lifted by impressive individual performances, as well as dominant showings as a unit.
The biggest improvement for the Otters came in the form of results. They recorded their highest number of wins in a season (5), total points (17), and their highest finish (5th). The Otters also won their first ever road game, taking down the Birmingham Hammers 2-0 on June 26th, and earned five total road points, which was also a record.
The most important key to the Otters success this season was the talent that the Otters boasted in the attack. Led by PDL Top 50 Prospect Guillermo Segovia (Florida Tech), the Otters more than doubled their record for team goals (30) and assists (20) from the previous marks of just 14 goals and nine assists. The team also recorded 165 shots, surpassing last season’s record of 131 shots. Several of the Otters single-game records were topped too, including a three-game stretch where the Otters set and re-set their single-game shots record.
This season featured the best roster the Otters have ever put on the field, and it was boosted by several record-setting individual seasons. The aforementioned Segovia scored ten goals and added four assists while making more appearances (14) and playing more minutes (1,214) than any other Otter in a single season. His ten goals were also a single-season record and his four assists were second most in a season. Segovia also set the single-season shots record (23) and the most career points (24).
Two Tusculum Pioneers were big contributors on offense. The speedy Ayuk Tambe scored three goals in nine games, the most important being his brace against the West Virginia Chaos including the game-winner in the 86th minute. Henrique Devens made the most of his playing time once given the chance, ending the season with two goals and an assist. His 22 shots finished tied with Dion Stergiotis for second most in a season.
In the midfield, Mehdi Chtara (France) was another Otter to log over 1,000 minutes this season and recorded four goals and five assists, including a stunning free kick against Peachtree City MOBA. Chtara’s five assists were a single-season record. His thirteen total points were the second most in a season behind only Guillermo Segovia.
Dutch midfielder Jeremy De Hoog (Rio Grande) was only the second Otter to appear in all 14 games and was another member of the 1,000-minute club. While he only scored one goal off of a PK against the Dynamo, he was instrumental in the comeback against West Virginia early in the season to earn the Otters’ first point of the season. De Hoog also served as captain for the Otters throughout the season.
At the defensive midfield position, Oscar Perez (Wingate) was able to protect the backline, helping the Otters earn two shutouts while still transitioning into the attack and contributing there. Perez recorded two goals and two assists. Both goals were long-range rockets against Mississippi Brilla and the Birmingham Hammers.
Despite playing at right back, Blake Barribeau (Palm Beach Atlantic) finished the season third on the team and third all-time in assists (3). Barribeau is also the first player to have a multi-assist game when he had two against Memphis. Barribeau was the final member of the 1,000-minute club this season, playing 1,075 minutes, which was the second most in a season. He was also a standout defender, helping the Otters to four shutouts and wearing the captain’s armband against Memphis City FC.
In the middle, centerbacks Shalom Dutey (Liberty) and George Stanley (Montreat) performed admirably as the last line of defense. Stanley, spent last season with the Otters Reserve Team before making the jump to the first team and appearing in eleven games as one of the Otters most reliable defenders and being a part of three shutouts despite suffering an ankle injury midseason.
Dutey, one of only four players to play all three seasons with the Otters, was a part of four shutouts for the Otters but was also able to use his elite athleticism to be a constant set piece threat. Dutey finished tied for third in goals with three and also added an assist, which easily gives him the most points in a season by a defender and moves him into fourth all-time in career points for the Otters.
Finally, in goal, Tyler Pavlet (Lees-McRae) held down the starting spot for the majority of the season, starting nine games between the pipes for the Otters, which was a single season record. Pavlet broke several records throughout the season including wins (5), shutouts (4), goals against average (1.33), and goals allowed (12).
The majority of the players are headed back to college to begin their seasons. You can read about their upcoming seasons in our 2018 College Season Preview. Several other players will look to continue their careers in the professional ranks so be sure to follow along on social media as we provide updates on their journey to the pros! #FearTheFur