Home sweet home. The Otters returned to Kermit-Tipton Stadium after a disappointing road trip to right the ship against Tormenta FC. The Otters were able to extend their home-unbeaten streak to five games with a 1-0 victory Friday night. A season-high of 1,384 fans showed up to help provide a boost from the stands and continue to build the Otters home reputation!
The game got off to a nervy start, as Tormenta came out with attacking in mind. They were able to get some early chances, but the Otters defensive unit continued to be the team’s strength. Alexis Castillo (Wayland Baptist), Sam Amure (Carson-Newman), Jeremy Tshongo (Appalachian State), and Sia Jamehdar (Lander) all went the full 90 minutes and secured the Otters second clean sheet of the season.
Behind the defense, Torge Wiedenroth (Reinhardt) returned at goalkeeper for the Otters and made many crucial saves throughout the game. The most important came in the 76th minute when Tormenta ripped a shot from the top of the box and Wiedenroth made a leaping, full-length stretch to parry the ball away and preserve the Otters lead. Wiedenroth recorded 10 saves, tying his own record for most in a single game by an Otter.
Offensively, the Otters settled into a groove and were able to start creating their own chances. Alex Mitrovic (NW Nazarene) and Dion Stergiotis (Carson-Newman) were able to cause turnovers on the defensive side and then initiate the attack for the Otters with their relentless pressure.
The game flipped for the Otters when head coach David Strickland turned to experienced attackers Roberto Soares (Pfeiffer) and Dion Peters (Charleston) in the 62nd minute to provide a spark off the bench.
The Otters continued to push forward and were able to score the decisive goal in the 73rd minute when Amure played a perfect long ball to Tresor Mbuyu (Liberty) who calmly put it away for his second goal of the season.
The Otters nearly doubled their lead in the 81st minute after Stergiotis’ long-range shot banged off the crossbar and Mbuyu scored the rebound. However, the goal was disallowed for a handball. The Stergiotis shot was his 18th of the season, which is the most in a single season by an Otter.
The Otters will take on the Nashville SC U-23s on Wednesday, July 5th at 7:00 PM and will look to recreate the excitement from their last meeting with Nashville. Come out, be loud, and help the Otters secure three points and extend their home-unbeaten streak! Tickets can be purchased online at ottersoccer.com!